Navigation Links
Fish of Antarctica threatened by climate change

A Yale-led study of the evolutionary history of Antarctic fish and their "anti-freeze" proteins illustrates how tens of millions of years ago a lineage of fish adapted to newly formed polar conditions and how today they are endangered by a rapid rise in ocean temperatures.

"A rise of 2 degrees centigrade of water temperature will likely have a devastating impact on this Antarctic fish lineage, which is so well adapted to water at freezing temperatures," said Thomas Near, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and lead author of the study published online the week of Feb. 13 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The successful origin and diversification into 100 species of fish, collectively called notothenioids, is a textbook case of how evolution operates. A period of rapid cooling led to mass extinction of fish acclimated to a warmer Southern Ocean. The acquisition of so-called antifreeze glycoproteins enabled notothenioids to survive in seas with frigid temperatures. As they adapted to vacant ecological niches, new species of notothenioids arose and contributed to the rich biodiversity of marine life found today in the waters of Antarctica.

Notothenioids account for the bulk of the fish diversity and are a major food source for larger predators, including penguins, toothed whales, and seals. Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History has one of the most important collections of these specimens in the world.

However, the new study suggests the acquisition of the antifreeze glycoproteins 22 to 42 million years ago was not the only reason for the successful adaptation of the Antarctic notothenioids. The largest radiation of notothenioid fish species into new habitats occurred at least 10 million years after the first appearance of glycoproteins, the study found.

"The evolution of antifreeze was often thought of as a 'smoking gun,' triggering the diversification of these fishes, but we found evidence that this adaptive radiation is not linked to a single trait, but to a combination of factors," Near said.

This evolutionary success story is threatened by climate change that has made the Southern Ocean around Antarctica one of the fastest-warming regions on Earth. The same traits that enabled the fish to survive and thrive on a cooling earth make them particularly susceptible to a warming one, notes Near.

"Given their strong polar adaptations and their inability to acclimate to warmer water temperatures, climate change could devastate this most interesting lineage of fish with a unique evolutionary history," Near said.


Contact: Bill Hathaway
Yale University

Related biology news :

1. Plant-eating dinosaur discovered in Antarctica
2. Engineering team heads to Antarctica to explore hidden lake
3. Ancient glacial melting process similar to existing concerns about Antarctica, Greenland
4. Fossilized pollen reveals climate history of northern Antarctica
5. Human impacts on the marine ecosystems of Antarctica
6. Oceanographers call for more ocean observing in Antarctica
7. Scientists locate apparent hydrothermal vents off Antarctica
8. First comprehensive review of the state of Antarcticas climate
9. LSU gets to the bottom of things -- in Antarctica
10. Antarctica glacier retreat creates new carbon dioxide store
11. Algae and pollen grains provide evidence of remarkably warm period in Antarcticas history
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Fish of Antarctica threatened by climate change
(Date:4/11/2017)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... offering. ... market to grow at a CAGR of 30.37% during the period ... has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs ... growth prospects over the coming years. The report also includes a ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 NXT-ID, ... security technology company, announces the appointment of independent Directors Mr. ... to its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s corporate ... ... NXT-ID, we look forward to their guidance and benefiting from ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces the launch ... dynamic digital window into the human cell. The website ... deep learning to create predictive models of cell organization, ... suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell Explorer will ... resources created and shared by the Allen Institute for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... USDM Life Sciences , ... life sciences and healthcare industries, announces a presentation by Subbu Viswanathan and Jennifer ... “Automating GxP Validation for Agile Cloud Platforms,” will present a revolutionary approach to ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... At its national board meeting in North Carolina, ... Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and Astronomy, has been selected for membership in ... team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics for the discovery of the ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... launched its ProxiMeta™ Hi-C metagenome deconvolution product, featuring the first commercially available ... bioinformatics software to perform Hi-C metagenome deconvolution using their own facilities, supplementing ...
(Date:10/5/2017)... LINDA, CA (PRWEB) , ... October 05, 2017 , ... ... innovators, engineers, and scientists from around the world, is giving back to cancer research ... sold in October. , Now through October 31, shoppers can use promo code ...
Breaking Biology Technology: