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Articles by Svati Kirsten Narula

Svati Kirsten Narula writes for and produces The Atlantic's National channel.

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Wikimedia CommonsIt’s okay, Mr. Rockfish — ocean acidification makes me anxious, too.

We’ve known for a while that the ocean is rapidly becoming too acidic for some forms of marine life to survive. We know that this is caused by continued rising emissions of carbon dioxide, which dissolves from the atmosphere into the ocean to form carbonic acid, which in turn dissolves/corrodes calcium carbonate-based coral reefs and shellfish.

Now we also know that ocean acidification does more than break down marine skeletons — it can actually cause behavioral changes in individual organisms. Simply stated, ocean acidification is making fish anxious — or, at least, anxiety as we measure it in fish.

Scientists from UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Canada’s MacEwan University recently published this surprising finding in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Science. But what does it mean for fish to be anxious? According to this study, all it takes is observing how much time the fish choose to spend in dark versus light areas of their habitats. The test s... Read more