Study shows Antarctic fish are growing grotesque skin tumors due to climate change

A large number of Antarctic fish have been found with grotesque skin tumors due to an outbreak never seen before in the polar region.

Researchers from the University of Ohio (UO) believe that a parasitic disease is spread as a result of changing of the climate environmental change.

Thomas Desvines, chief scientist of the 2018 research expedition and lead author of the study, said in an interview. statement: “When living conditions become difficult, animals become more prone to disease.

Changing conditions include rising air temperatures and melting glaciers.

Tumors “pale, pink, raised, rough, appeared in various places on the trunk and head, in some cases covering more than a third of the surface of the body.” study published by researchers from Ohio University.

A large number of Antarctic fish have been found with grotesque skin tumors due to an outbreak never seen before in the polar region. Pictured is a fish caught in Andcord Bay.

Devignes and UO biologist John Postlethwaite visited a small fjord in the west of the Antarctic Peninsula to study a unique group of fish called notothenoids.

The team was intrigued by this fish because it flocked to the Antarctic Ocean from the Atlantic and had evolved to withstand cold waters.

This includes developing a specialized protein that prevents their blood from freezing.

The fjord is usually full of eyes during the time of year the team visited, but due to the rise in temperature, they were able to immediately head in and start fishing.

Ohio University (UO) researchers believe the parasitic disease is spreading as a result of climate change affecting the environment.  This fish was caught in Dallmann Bay.

Ohio University (UO) researchers believe the parasitic disease is spreading as a result of climate change affecting the environment. This fish was caught in Dallmann Bay.

The tumors are

The tumors are “pale, pink, raised, rough, appearing in various places on the trunk and head, in some cases covering more than a third of the surface of the body.”

Scientists studied samples in Andchord and Dallmann bays.

“As soon as we got the first trawl back on deck, we realized that one species was really plentiful and many of them had large tumors,” Devignes said.

“When we saw it, we immediately knew we had to do something.”

The team was intrigued by this fish because it flocked to the Antarctic Ocean from the Atlantic and had evolved to withstand cold waters.

The team was intrigued by this fish because it flocked to the Antarctic Ocean from the Atlantic and had evolved to withstand cold waters.

The team collected several infected fish and returned them to the laboratory for further analysis.

Here, they determined that the tumor-causing parasites belonged to a different genus than other parasites implicated in previous cases of X-cell disease.

“It can be difficult to link an outbreak to a specific cause. But Antarctic ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and are undergoing particularly rapid change, the researchers say.

“For example, when ice melts, nearby water becomes less salty. And the bottom water, where these notothenioids live, becomes warmer and fresher especially quickly.”

Devigne suggests that fish may be under pressure as waters heat up and ecosystems change.

“Climate change could also affect the life cycle of the parasite, possibly making it more efficient at spreading and infecting,” he said.

Other non-climate explanations could also explain the outbreak, but the team said they needed more data before they could narrow down a hard conclusion.

“Maybe the parasite has a long life cycle and shows up as an outbreak from time to time, and we might have been there by accident when that happened,” Devignes said.

“Due to COVID-19 and the difficult logistics of visiting Antarctica, they have not been able to return to the area since.

“We are preparing project proposals to go there again and study this particular outbreak, its development since 2018, and also study the surrounding areas to try to see if we can detect the pathogen in other places and in other species,” said Devignes.