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Why do some fish thrive in oil-polluted water?

Date:
January 26, 2016
Source:
McGill University
Summary:
Scientists thought guppies in Northern Trinidad could be a rare example of adaptation to crude oil pollution. But they found something else.
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Scientists thought guppies in Northern Trinidad could be a rare example of adaptation to crude oil pollution. But they found something else.

When scientists from McGill University learned that some fish were proliferating in rivers and ponds polluted by oil extraction in Southern Trinidad, it caught their attention. They thought they had found a rare example of a species able to adapt to crude oil pollution.

At a time when humans are imposing an unprecedented burden on the world's ecosystems, studying how organisms can tolerate pollutants is crucial to understanding the impact of human activities -- and to helping to mitigate it in the future.

Led by Dr. Gregor Rolshausen, then a postdoctoral researcher at McGill working with Prof. Andrew Hendry, the team went to study the guppy fish living in polluted areas, comparing their morphology and genetic makeup to those of similar guppies from non-polluted parts of Trinidad.

But the key to the guppies' survival in oil-polluted waters was not what the researchers had expected. Prof. Hendry explains: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=568hCM-wFZs


Story Source:

Materials provided by McGill University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gregor Rolshausen, Dawn A. T. Phillip, Denise M. Beckles, Ali Akbari, Subhasis Ghoshal, Patrick B. Hamilton, Charles R. Tyler, Alan G. Scarlett, Indar Ramnarine, Paul Bentzen, Andrew P. Hendry. Do stressful conditions make adaptation difficult? Guppies in the oil-polluted environments of southern Trinidad. Evolutionary Applications, 2015; 8 (9): 854 DOI: 10.1111/eva.12289

Cite This Page:

McGill University. "Why do some fish thrive in oil-polluted water?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 January 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160126090053.htm>.
McGill University. (2016, January 26). Why do some fish thrive in oil-polluted water?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160126090053.htm
McGill University. "Why do some fish thrive in oil-polluted water?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160126090053.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

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