Future oceans could be farmed by fish

Posted July 13, 2018 10:25:31

Climate change could be a good thing for a species of fish that farms its own food, according to a university study.

The herbivorous damselfish maintains an algae garden that it weeds and defends from other animals.

A University of Adelaide study looked at damselfish waters containing a lot of carbon dioxide and found climate change would actually help damselfish grow more food.

Project leader Professor Ivan Nagelkerken said algae crops would be “fertilised” by the increased carbon dioxide [CO2] the ocean would absorb from the atmosphere.

“They grow little gardens, they defend these gardens, and they take out weeds that are not nutritional and essentially they crop their own farms,” Dr Nagelkerken said.

“It’s like they use human cropping practices.

“In a future ocean, when the excess of CO2 we’re emitting into the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean, it acts as a fertiliser for these crops.

“As such, these fish can grow crops at a faster rate and that’s why they need a smaller space, so the ocean floor can handle more farming damselfish in a future ocean.”

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