Impaired learning about predators and lower survival under elevated CO2: a consequence of neurotransmitter interference

Chivers, Douglas P., McCormick, Mark I., Nilsson, Göran E., Munday, Philip L., Watson, Sue-Ann, Meekan, Mark, Mitchell, Matthew D., Corkill, Katherine C., and Ferrari, Maud C.O. (2014) Impaired learning about predators and lower survival under elevated CO2: a consequence of neurotransmitter interference. Global Change Biology, 20 (2). pp. 515-522.

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Ocean acidification is one of the most pressing environmental concerns of our time, and not surprisingly, we have seen a recent explosion of research into the physiological impacts and ecological consequences of changes in ocean chemistry. We are gaining considerable insights from this work, but further advances require greater integration across disciplines. Here, we showed that projected near-future CO₂ levels impaired the ability of damselfish to learn the identity of predators. These effects stem from impaired neurotransmitter function; impaired learning under elevated CO₂ was reversed when fish were treated with gabazine, an antagonist of the GABA-A receptor – a major inhibitory neurotransmitter receptor in the brain of vertebrates. The effects of CO₂ on learning and the link to neurotransmitter interference were manifested as major differences in survival for fish released into the wild. Lower survival under elevated CO₂, as a result of impaired learning, could have a major influence on population recruitment.

Item ID: 29395
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2486
Keywords: CO2, GABA-A receptors, global change, learning, neurotransmitter, ocean acidification, predator recognition, survival
Funders: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, University of Oslo, Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2013 01:13
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts) @ 70%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 30%
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