Fish switch to nighttime defense mode to cope with ocean global warming: study

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Some fish can cope with the adverse effects of climate change by permanently setting their body defenses to nighttime levels, a study has said.

Man-made carbon dioxide, mainly produced by combustion of wood and fossil fuels, forms a weak acid when mixed with water that can harm marine life.

Published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Monday, the study said some fish have begun to adapt to the increasing acidification of oceans by permanently switch to nighttime defense mode, something that they usually do during the night when they find the waters inhospitable.

Fish adjust their bodies every day because levels of carbon dioxide in oceans are naturally the highest at night. After sunrise, the levels are going down as seaweed and other plants absorb carbon dioxide to generate energy.

Scientists found that a species of spiny damselfish, or Acanthochromis polyacanthus, from Australia's Great Barrier Reef, is heavily driven by its circadian rhythm.

The offspring of the damselfish have more flexible body clocks to tackle high carbon dioxide levels in the water, the research said.

"It seems the tolerant offspring may have adjusted their circadian clocks as if it was always night," Timothy Ravasi, one of the authors at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, wrote in the study.

Co-author Philip Munday from James Cook University in Australia said the findings were potentially good news as they proved that some fish can adapt to acidification. Endi

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