Researchers identify behavioral adaptations that may help Antarctic fishes to adapt to warming Southern Ocean
Category: research Video duration: Researchers identify behavioral adaptations that may help Antarctic fishes to adapt to warming Southern Ocean
In a new study published in PLOS ONE, Michael Friedlander and his team at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute describe how Antarctic fishes with and without hemoglobin react to acute thermal stress. The findings characterize species-specific behavioral responses that may help these endemic species withstand the impacts of climate change.
I think the important thing about this work is that it really shows us that animals have a repertoire of behaviors available to them that they can bring to bear when challenge with changing environmental conditions. We don't really know as the climate changes and as Earth's temperature change for all these animals that are Portola thermic, that is, their body temperature depends on the environmental temperature. We don't really know what they will be able to do and how they will survive. And it's not really a matter of life and death for say, it's not that the temperature might kill the animal, but if it suddenly interferes with its ability to reproduce or to eat or to avoid predators, whatever it might be. Any of those things can lead to an environmental disaster for the species. So behavior is ultimately the key endpoint to understand how climate change will affect them. So even though this is in a strange animal, a fish and ice fish of all things. It is informing us as the basic biological mechanisms of how the nervous system response to changing temperatures. We'd like to think of this as not only environmental and climate science, but also biomedical science and helping hopefully in the future to inform care in humans as well.