Freshwater Acidification Affects Development Of Pink Salmon

By on July 8, 2015
Measuring the oxygen consumption of developing pink salmon. (Credit: Michelle Ou)

Scientists at the University of British Columbia studying the effects of acidification have found that freshwater fish may be vulnerable just like fish in the ocean, according to a release. The investigation is in contrast to many others that focus only on ocean acidification.

“Most of the work on acidification has been in the ocean, yet 40 percent of all fish are freshwater. We need to think about how carbon dioxide is affecting freshwater species,” said Colin Brauner, professor of zoology at the university, in the release.

In particular, the researchers looked at the effects that acidification has on pink salmon, finding that it has the potential to impact the fish’s survivability, as well as its drives to return to native spawning grounds. Acidification appears to affect the fish’s growth and its sense of smell.

“The increase in carbon dioxide in water is actually quite small from a chemistry perspective so we didn’t expect to see so many effects,” said Michelle Ou, lead author of the study and previously a master’s student at the university, in the statement. “The growth, physiology, and behaviour of these developing pink salmon are very much influenced by these small changes.”

Top image: Measuring the oxygen consumption of developing pink salmon. (Credit: Michelle Ou)

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