50 years in the past, chemical pollution have been linked to odd animal habits

cover of the September 18, 1971 issue of Science News

Sea life’s chemical senses
Science Information, September 18, 1971

For fish and different underwater life, a sensitivity to chemical substances performs the identical position because the sense of scent does for land animals.… [Researchers] have been finding out the refined methods this delicate fish-communication system could be disrupted by pollution…. One research examined the results of kerosene air pollution on the habits of lobsters…. The experiments display that chemical communication interference takes place at extraordinarily low dilutions.


Chemical air pollution — from sewage and agricultural runoff to pharmaceutical waste — muddles aquatic animals’ senses with doubtlessly dire results, many years of analysis has proven. A chemical used to deal with sewage appears to restrict some fish species’ talents to type faculties, making the fish susceptible to predators (SN: 10/27/07, p. 262). Drug-tainted waters can have quite a lot of results on fish, together with suppressing their appetites (SN: 12/20/08, p. 15). A plastic chemical additionally seems to confuse senses: Its scent can lure sea turtles into consuming plastic particles (SN: 3/28/20, p. 14).

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