Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
Log in
You are here: Home Blog Chromis may adapt to acidification by modulating their biological clocks

Chromis may adapt to acidification by modulating their biological clocks

By Leonard Ho - Posted Aug 03, 2016 09:00 AM
A new research has uncovered a fascinating way some reef fish may be able to adapt (to an extent) to ocean acidification. The reef chromis, Acanthochromis polyacanthus, adapts to higher CO2 levels by altering its circadian rhythm genes to essentially think it's always nighttime.
Chromis may adapt to acidification by modulating their biological clocks

Acanthochromis polyacanthus

Fish have circadian rhythms (AKA 24 hour biological cycles) just like most living organisms.  Fish have evolved their circadian rhythm to regulate metabolism differently to account for the shifting CO2 levels between night and day; as most reefkeepers know, seawater is more acidic at night because photosynthesis (which consumes CO2 and generates O2) stops after dark.

A new research published in Nature has uncovered a previously unknown mechanism that some reef fish may employ in order to adapt to increasing ocean acidification.  When scientists exposed the Indo-Pacific reef chromis, Acanthochromis polyacanthus, to high CO2 levels, something unexpected happened to their offspring:  The genes responsible for circadian rhythm changed to perpetual "night mode" to cope with the higher CO2 levels!

The research shows reef fish may prove resilient to the changing climate in ways we still don't understand.  While these findings provide a glimmer of hope, scientists caution that organisms have physiological limits when it comes to adapting to extremely rapid environmental changes.

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


Document Actions
Filed under:
blog comments powered by Disqus


Contribute to our blogs!

Do you have news or discussion topics you want to see blogged?  Let us know!