By Lola,


Thanks to CO2 emissions, the smell of the sea is changing

What if the way things smell started to change? What if food
inexplicably lost its aroma and your house no longer had its familiar
homely scent? It would certainly be off-putting, but you’d probably
manage. However, many animals depend on their sense of smell much more
than we do, so they would probably be affected much more acutely by a
change in this key sense.

It seems that ocean acidification
may be causing just such an alteration to the way that sea life smells
the oceans. Or, more accurately, marine organisms’ ability to detect
chemical signals is being altered by changes to ocean chemistry.

Hermit crabs use certain molecules to track down new shells. With
changes to ocean pH, their ability to do this is is compromised.
Photograph: Alamy

Ocean acidification has an impact on the signalling and ‘smelling’
abilities of marine organisms. Illustration: University of Hull