The impact of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems will depend on species capacity to adapt. Recent studies show that the behaviour of reef fishes is impaired at projected CO 2 levels; however, individual variation exists that might promote adaptation. Here, we show a clear signature of parental sensitivity to high CO 2 in the brain molecular phenotype of juvenile spiny damselfish, Acanthochromis polyacanthus, primarily driven by circadian rhythm genes.