Warmer ocean temperatures caused by global warming could cause sharks and other fish to become more aggressive, according to a new Australian study.How could this test be carried out in anything that remotely resembles reality?
Research conducted by the University of New South Wales found that a slight lift in water temperatures — just two or three degrees — can cause some fish to become up to 30 times more aggressive than they normally would be.
The studies were conducted on young damsel fish, but head researcher Dr Peter Biro told ninemsn "he would be surprised" if sharks did not also undergo a similar transformation in warm water.
"I would imagine it ought to affect sharks ... We think it is linked to the metabolism of the fishes — it increases their need to feed," Dr Biro said.
The research involved putting the damsel fish in varying temperatures of water and placing other fish behind glass to see how they reacted.
Dr Biro said it was "obvious" the warmer water had an effect.
"Some fish would literally charge at the glass," he said.
"I'm quite confident that if the glass was not there they would have torn the other fish to shreds."
He predicted the increased aggression caused by climate change would cause some fish populations to dwindle, but it would eventually correct itself.
"I think in the short term we might see some effects," he said.
"But I think the animals will adapt, they won't all kill each other."
The test also exposed previously unknown behavioural traits that exist among the damsel fish species.
While some fish showed extreme aggressive reaction to the warm water, others did not react at all.
The majority of the fish tested appeared to be at least twice as aggressive in the warm water.
In the event that the oceans do heat up by 2-3C, which they show no signs of doing, then it'll take decades or, more likely, at least a century, as there's an enormous amount of heat required to do that.
So how did they undertake this test? Heat water up slowly over a week or two? No wonder the fish become pissed off - they're too bloody hot.
And what did they conduct this test on? A damsel fish.
This is a damsel fish:
Apparently, after testing on this little feller they expect sharks to get just as grumpy.
I dare them to try it on sharks.
Here's another point.
Sharks move around between colder and warmer oceans but it doesn't seem to matter what temperature ocean they're in to munch up the ocassional human...