Bignami, who recently completed his PhD in Marine Biology and Fisheries at UM said that, "Increased hearing sensitivity could improve a fish's ability to use sound for navigation, predator avoidance, and communication. However, it could also increase their sensitivity to common background noises, which may disrupt the detection of more useful auditory information."
The study, a collaboration between UM and NOAA's Ocean Acidification Program at the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami, is the first to use micro-CT technology to examine otoliths while still inside the heads of the larval fish.
"This effect of ocean acidification represents a significant change to a key sensory system in fish. Although the ultimate ecological consequences still need to be determined, there is the potential for serious impact on important processes such as larval fish recruitment and fisheries replenishment in this species and perhaps other critical fisheries," Bignami added.