Tuesday April 23, 2024

The Conversation

Without sufficient oxygen to respire properly, fish experience the same problems as high-altitude mountaineers. Even relatively small oxygen deficits mean they become sluggish, their reproduction is affected and their growth is stunted.

That’s one reason an oxygen deficit deep in the oceans is a problem – and climate change is making it worse.

But we have recently published research in Nature Communications which shows how storms interact with the tide in summer to play an important role in churning up the oceans and “mixing down” oxygen. This mixing helps maintain healthy conditions in deeper coastal seas around the UK and elsewhere.

This is important because creatures in the ocean are reliant on oxygen to survive in the same way as animals on land are. But it’s harder work underwater: fish expend tens of times more energy to breathe oxygen than we do, with bigger fish having to expend even more effort.

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