Sulfur gases call fish and trigger cloud formation


A sulfurous gas emitted by marine algal blooms has been found to attract fish, and form clouds. The gas is formed when microscopic plankton feed on the algae, or when the algae becomes so dense it forms a bloom. Fish are attracted to the smell because they feed on the plankton. The gas also causes clouds to form, casting shadows and slowing down the growth of the algae. The scientist who discovered the effect, Jennifer deBose, was studying its role in influencing the weather, and was surprised by its role in signalling to fish. She released the gas from large bottles in the open sea and attracted large numbers of fish very quickly. ‘The fish are using scent to "listen" to the interaction between plant plankton and their predators’, DeBose said.

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