A fish story from Antarctica

From Yale University: Fish of Antarctica threatened by climate change

The development of antifreeze glycoproteins by notothenioids, a fish family that adapted to newly formed polar conditions in the Antarctic millions of years ago, is an evolutionary success story. The three species of fish are an example of the diversity this lineage achieved when it expanded into niches left by fish decimated by cold water environment. Now the same fish are endangered by warming of the Antarctic seas (in order: Chaenodraco wilsoni (common name: spiny icefish); Trematomus newnesi (common name: dusky rockcod); Vomeridens infuscipinnis (common name: antarctic dragonfish). Credit: Courtesy of Yale University

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.

###

Yale-affliated authors of the study are Alex Dornburg, Kristen L. Kuhn, and Jillian N. Pennington.

===============================================================

I have to wonder though, what warming/climate change in Antarctica?

Maybe they are thinking of the surface record on the peninsula, where the greatest concentration of research stations, people, and energy use is. The air temperature there shows an increase.

But sea temperature near the peninsula doesn’t seem to be on the rise:

Or maybe they’ve spent too much time looking at Eric Steig’s graph:

http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/antarctic_warming_2009.png?w=600&h=462

Real Climate’s Dr. Eric Steig’s version, 2009 – from the cover of Nature

Instead of the one from 2004 before the Mannian PCA team math was applied to it:

Of course we now know thanks to O’Donnell et al that the whole “Antarctica is warming” theme from Steig and the team was just another statistical fabrication of air temperature.

Condon and O”Donnell’s Antarctic temperature profile, 2010.

It seems all the warming is in the peninsula, in the air temperature record, where all the people and energy use to keep them warm is.

Antarctica as a whole is not warming much at the surface, and as the UAH lower troposphere graph shows, not at all above the surface.

Antarctic sea ice seems to agree, it has an upward trend:

Joshua Corning makes an excellent point in comments:

“tens of millions of years ago a lineage of fish adapted to newly formed polar conditions”

“A rise of 2 degrees centigrade of water temperature will likely have a devastating impact on this Antarctic fish lineage”

That is weird…one wonders how they survived the far greater temperature changes over the past 20 million years.

You know…when Antarctica melted then froze gain….(image from Wikipedia)

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140 Responses to A fish story from Antarctica

  1. Joshua Corning says:

    “tens of millions of years ago a lineage of fish adapted to newly formed polar conditions”

    “A rise of 2 degrees centigrade of water temperature will likely have a devastating impact on this Antarctic fish lineage”

    That is weird…one wonders how they survived the far greater temperature changes over the past 20 million years.

    You know…when Antarctica melted then froze gain….

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1b/65_Myr_Climate_Change.png

  2. David Banks says:

    Anthony don’t let a little thing called facts get in the way of a great fairy tale.

  3. “climate change could devastate this most interesting lineage of fish with a unique evolutionary history”

    Yup. It could. Can someone please make a definite statement? Maybe, just maybe, these fish can adapt in the other direction. But that would be too easy. Or maybe these fellers could be making it all up. After all, the Druid’s Summertime Cruise was there…and hmmmm….why haven’t we heard a grand pronouncement?

  4. Lets see, during a period of rapid cooling the fish adapted.

    During a period of rapid warming the fish give up and die.

    Now I get it.

  5. morgo says:

    All I can say I am disappointed In Yale University to go so low just to get a research grant ,hang your heads in shame

  6. Peter Plail says:

    I also wonder how they know the fish will die out if they warm up.

    First place your fish in a pan of icy water and gradually heat. Note the temperature at which the fish expire. Since the process can’t be reversed, carry on to boiling point and enjoy a fish supper. Sorry for a somewhat tasteless suggestion, but probably not as tasteless as fish with antifreeze inside.

    Seriously, though, where is the evidence that an increase of 2 degrees is the magic number? It strikes me that the cessation of whaling might just be more of a threat to the fish, but, like the temperature change, it is simply conjecture. Where is the science?

  7. MarcH says:

    What is it about the biological sciences that leads to it consistently producing such nonsensical conclusions?

    Here’s another: Climate change could see the end of snails:
    https://theconversation.edu.au/climate-change-could-see-the-end-of-snails-5274

  8. Me says:

    And here I always thought fish needed liquid water to live in.

  9. How does one distinguish that glycoproteins in fish, even if they did develop 22 million years ago, developed in response to a cooler habitat that was 1. part of a global redistribution of temperatures or 2. because the fish wanted to go to live in colder waters further south or 3. that they wanted to live in deeper, colder water, with a different predator set?

    Given the possibility of temperature rises and falls in the last 22 million years, why is February 2012 so important in the scheme of things?

  10. johanna says:

    What nonsense.

    Leaving aside the improbability of the Antarctic oceans warming 2 degrees, there are pretty much no fish species that cannot withstand temperature fluctuations of that order. They do so all the time, just swimming around.

    How anybody with even an undergraduate biology degree would put their name to this stuff is baffling. They have no sense of shame at all.

    BTW, that fish has a face only its mother would love!

  11. wayne Job says:

    Mike Bromley the the Canucklehead,
    You mention the Druids cruise into the summer of the Antarctic, oddly their output has been some what subdued, it would appear that the love boat cruised into an area that was 25c below the norm for this time of year. That would put a damper on any ones holiday, and to try and spin that into global warming would be a folly inviting ridicule. You may have to wait a while for the spinmiesters to come to terms with the Gore effect.

  12. Mike McMillan says:

    22 to 42 million years. They’ve had a good run. Polar bears, snail darters, and spotted owls could take a lesson.

    I wonder how much of Antarctica was above water during the last ice age. Those fish (and penguins) must have moved considerably north and had to endure very salty water as the oceans piled up on Chicago.

  13. Kasuha says:

    But of course they will all die out because ever since there is global warming climate disruption inconvenience, the evolution has stopped and no mutations occur anymore. This means all these fish are all exactly the same and will all die at exactly the same temperature. Am I getting it right?

  14. Antonia says:

    ” … a lineage of fish adapted to newly formed polar conditions”. OK, so why can’t a lineage of fish adapt to newly formed warmer conditions if they occur? What’s the problem?

    Why do climate scientists and Greens think the earth’s climate should remain the same as it was when they were 20, or 10? With that mindset they are the real ‘deniers’ of climate change. The rest of us accept that climate does change and that the only intelligent response is to adapt to it. Like the fish.

  15. Charles.U.Farley says:

    Oh deary me! This fish might die if it cannot adapt.
    We must spend more money in third world countries and de-industrialise the whole planet if theyre to survive.

    Natural selection in action- adapt to survive, just like every other species thats ever existed-anywhere.
    Headobangosaurus was a dinosaur that lived about a month after nature decided to program it to bash its brains in on a wall for no reason, so quite surprisingly it died out then……

  16. rossbrisbane says:

    A new paper Increasing rates of ice mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets revealed by GRACE (Velicogna 2009) analyses the latest results from the GRACE satellite data to discern the trend in mass change in the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets.

    Antarctica is losing ICE MASS – seasonal SEA ICE does tell the real picture.

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL040222.shtml

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/images/Antarctica_Ice_Mass.gif

    Figure 2: Time series of ice mass changes for the Antarctic ice sheet estimated from GRACE monthly mass solutions for the period from April 2002 to February 2009. Unfiltered data are blue crosses. Data filtered for the seasonal dependence using a 13-month window are shown as red crosses. The best-fitting quadratic trend is shown (green line).

  17. Doug Cotton says:

    Gee, you’d think the fish would have the sense to join the penguins and hang around a bit further South. It should be nice and cool under an iceberg or two.

  18. Lars Silen says:

    From a competiviness point of view it seems obvious that it is enough that the water temperature goes below freezing occasinally. If a fish does’nt have built in antifreeze the moment it gets really cold it dies. The cooling liquid in my car in southern Finland stands ca -40 deg C even if temperatures seldom go below -30. Should I replace the antifreeze with something meant for southern Europe? Surely not because even a short temperature dip could be totally destructive and extremely expensive. I could see no indication in the graphs that the water environment where the fish lives is warming.

  19. Disko Troop says:

    Geoff…Feb 2012 is so important because we are coming up to the allocation of next years research grants. Anyone who has not produced some global warnings this year will get nowt next year. Q E D.

  20. d says:

    Lets face it someone could do some “research” on kentucky Blue grass and the impact of global warming and probably get some grant money for it so its no wonder that we see articles like this.

  21. Goldie says:

    Are they edible? How would they go with chips? Seriously though, they’d better not be, otherwise they would really face some serious population pressure.

  22. Charles Gerard Nelson says:

    Normally I take garbage like the above story with a pinch of salt…but for some strange reason on this occasion I feel an inexplicable urge to try and ‘beat some sense’ into Messrs Near Luhnberg and Co!
    Snip me…I’d understand.

  23. Rod Gill says:

    Even in 1,000 years there will still be ice in Antarctica. Sea temperatures around the coast will always therefore be around -4C (temp sea ice freezes at).
    Willis has shown from Argo buoy stats that sea at equator almost never rises above 30C so does this mean the sub tropical sea will rise 4C or more to produce a global 2c rise? I can swim in the sea all year? Excellent!
    Could increase sea currents quite a lot with some interesting regional climate changes. Almost a shame it isn’t going to happen.

  24. David L says:

    morgo on February 14, 2012 at 12:33 am said:
    All I can say I am disappointed In Yale University to go so low just to get a research grant ,hang your heads in shame
    ———————
    Yale gave Mann a PhD… Now there’s something to really be ashamed about.

  25. Espen says:

    According to Bob Tisdale, Southern Ocean SST fell 0.99 deg C last month, so what are they worrying about? As you can see fro Bob’s chart, SST has now for 4 years been at levels lower than in almost all of the preceding ~30 years:
    http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/13-southern.png

  26. EternalOptimist says:

    Those fish with anti freeze can be unpredictable and dangerous. I brought some home and put them in my freezer, two days later when my wife went to get some milk, they jumped out and bit her.

  27. John Marshall says:

    Throughout geological history species have risen then become extinct. It is what happens. But the temperature anomalies do not seem to be much different from the natural variation and a 0.5C anomaly when its -20C still means it’s cold enough for ice to remain ice. I think these fish will continue to thrive without alarmists shouting the odds.

  28. PaulsNZ says:

    Me thinks the AGW crowd are manic depressive demons who will stop at nothing to destroy humans, Garlic and Silver are our only weapons. ;)

  29. Garry Stotel says:

    @Goldie
    Those fish are sold in Russia, called “Ice Fish”, and they are THE tastiest damn fish you would ever try – as the fish eat nothing but prawns, their meat is unbelievably tender, wtih a very delicate prawn flavour. Also, They have a strange bone structure, so after cooking them for about a minute (no more), the whole skeleton can be separated. Oh, and they have skin, but no scales (or very tiny ones)…
    I ate loads of them when I lived there….

  30. ScuzzaMan says:

    Personally, I like the use of the word “illustrates” in the original article. What they are really saying is that they SPECULATE on how the fish adapted at some past time, but then they use this speculation as if it is an evidentiary truth, and then some more logical magic happens, and they conclude that a bit of warming will devastate this species apparently capable of incredible temperature adaptation but only in one direction.

    But the whole argumentative edifice rests on accepting that they know how the original adaptation happened, with enough certainty and understanding to predict that it cannot happen in reverse.

    This is a greatly different thing from simply accepting that adaptation occurred.

    I call bollocks on the whole shebang.

  31. DirkH says:

    Goldie says:
    February 14, 2012 at 2:02 am
    “Are they edible? How would they go with chips?”

    They’re spiny.

  32. Karl-Johan Lehtinen says:

    It´s amazing that a reputable university as Yale is conducting research of this kind. I figure they would not have been financed had they not referred to climate warming.

  33. Ian H says:

    You repeatedly mention the Antarctic peninsula as being “where the people and energy use is”. I believe you are making a false implication here. This suggests that peninsula warming is the product of some kind of urban heat island effect. But you are talking about a handful of very tiny (a few dozen buildings) and isolated research stations scattered across an absolutely huge frozen continent. Not much chance of an urban heat island effect going on there I’d say. Furthermore there are similar research stations located right across the Antarctic. They are not predominately in the peninsula. So I’m not sure what you are trying to get at here. Yes the warming is in the peninsula. But it really does seem to be getting warmer in the peninsula. It isn’t some kind of measurement error, and it isn’t an urban heat island effect from all those scientists toasting their sandwiches.

  34. Steve (Paris) says:

    So when it warms up here in Europe I’ll have to drain the antifreeze from my car or it will die?

  35. Werd ich zum Augenblicke sagen:
    Verweile doch! du bist so schön!

    Gute Deutsche sind immer bereit, die Weltordnung zu beheben, wann immer sie von ihrem Glauben abweicht, was auch immer der Preis ist.

  36. Luther Wu says:

    Life’s too short to go without humor.
    Thanks, Yale University, for another howler.

  37. Bill Marsh says:

    I always love ‘scientific’ studies that consist of nothing more than speculation. “If’ temperatures rise 2C (air temperatures or sea temperatures), then this fish species ‘could’ be devastated. Well, ‘if’ temperatures rise 2C, ‘wouldn’t’ the species that this fish displaced move back in to the area?

    “If’ temperatures drop 2C, then fish species in the tropics ‘could’ be devastated (or maybe this fish expands its range. See, I can do ‘science’ too.

  38. Zac says:

    Could it be that there are too many profs around these days?

  39. olsthro says:

    Anthony, your global temp reference page has not been updated to show january’s results. love the site and thank you for your efforts.

  40. Steve C says:

    “I have to wonder though, what warming/climate change in Antarctica?”
    - With the graph that follows those words, the perfect comment on the matter!

    That feller does have a sort of Neanderthal look to him. The penguins are welcome.

  41. Harold Ambler says:

    From “The Vanishing Ice Caps,” a chapter in DSYC:

    For the Nature article on Antarctica, Steig and Mann devised a statistical means of indicating warming more or less throughout Antarctica. In a nutshell, they took some mild warming from western Antarctica, especially the Peninsula, and generalized it eastward, covering the entire continent. But 98 percent of the continent remains bitterly cold, and no one disputes that. Also, the temperature recorded at the South Pole is agreed to have declined during the last 75 years.

    More here: http://amzn.to/w0Lj6H

  42. Khwarizmi says:

    Ross from Brisbane – “A new paper Increasing rates of ice mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets revealed by GRACE.. ”

    Amen. But when will the sea levels arise? Or can that satellite of love up in the sky not tell us that?

  43. Byron says:

    MarcH says:
    February 14, 2012 at 12:49 am
    What is it about the biological sciences that leads to it consistently producing such nonsensical conclusions?

    In a word ….Funding

    I suspect that as much of the West`s financial resources availible for research have been “misappropriated” by the global warming meme that , unless Your research has the “global warming —> endangered” tag somewhere in the header , funding simply isn`t available . A rather sad indictment of the post-normal state of science in modern institutions when research for the sake of understanding how things work is regarded as an unworthy pursuit.

  44. schnurrp says:

    Joshua Corning says:
    February 14, 2012 at 12:12 am
    “tens of millions of years ago a lineage of fish adapted to newly formed polar conditions”

    “A rise of 2 degrees centigrade of water temperature will likely have a devastating impact on this Antarctic fish lineage”

    That is weird…one wonders how they survived the far greater temperature changes over the past 20 million years.

    You know…when Antarctica melted then froze gain….

    “Man-made” warming is likely to be more harmful!

  45. Claude Harvey says:

    Isn’t that string of underwater volcanoes under its western region warming certain Antarctic waters more than normal these days? That might lend credence to the “warming waters” part of the story, but certainly not the “global warming” attribution.

  46. Mike M says:

    And if you are left wondering how exactly Thomas Near knows about “their inability to acclimate to warmer water temperatures” it is really really simple – he asked them!

  47. KnR says:

    What this research really tell us is that the AGW ‘research ‘ is still deep and well filled , so there are plenty of people willing to stick their hands in it to grasp as much as they can while they can.
    I am just waiting for the research that ‘proves’ AGW is the reason more people don’t win the lottery .

  48. KenB says:

    Has a certain railway engineer issued an appeal for alarmist (doesn’t matter how idiotic) for touting in the IPCC report as robust peer reviewed and published gospel.???

  49. R Barker says:

    Food supply. All about food supply. Fish adapt to access more abundant food supplies. Researchers adapt to access more abundant supplies of funding. It appears that most all living things tend to adapt to what nature presents. It is neither good nor evil. In the case of research money there appears to be elements of compromise if not corruption.

  50. phinnie the woo says:

    it may very well all be true and alarming

    soooo
    where is the next party in the world to fly to for a week , with 30.000 wetnosed dogooder nannystate troopers faux-working at a high rate, and demand more to be done, with other people’s money ?

  51. guys, stories like this one are going to keep us distracted from the real game.
    those fish are going to have proxy voting rights in agenda 21

    http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/

  52. Brian Johnson uk says:

    David L says:
    February 14, 2012 at 2:08 am

    Yale gave Mann a PhD… Now there’s something to really be ashamed about.

    A PhD in Hockey perhaps?

  53. Pull My Finger says:

    It always something isn’t it?

    For those of you somehow attributing some superior academic and ethical standards to Yale, just know that the Ivy League schools are the nuttiest of the wing-nut Politically Correct faculties in science and the humanities. These aren’t PC Line Toers, these produce the PC line drawers.

  54. Hardy Cross says:

    This study must have been funded using the “global warming” key words in the grant application.

  55. Frank K. says:

    morgo says:
    February 14, 2012 at 12:33 am

    “All I can say I am disappointed In Yale University to go so low just to get a research grant ,hang your heads in shame.”

    Yes this is very unfortunate. But these days, you are almost obligated to put in scary climate change garbage into what would normally be a dull research report in order to increase your chances of funding. And I believe it’s the high pressure university environment and tenure system that’s at fault. After all, as they say in academia, it’s “publish or perish”. So if you don’t bring in enough research dollars or publish large numbers of papers in established scientific journals, you won’t have a job. And as we all know from Climategate, academic journals have certain “content standards” when it comes to climate change papers.

  56. Robert Schapiro says:

    Oh dear God not again! I see the words “global warming” or some such nonsense and I’m done with the article before I even start reading it. How long can they cling to this canard? Till the funding runs out I suppose.

  57. Septic Matthew says:

    For some reason, experts forget that they believe in random variation and natural selection, that more offspring are produced in each generation than can survive to adulthood, that the populations have already survived larger swings in environmental features (including but not limited to temperature), and all the other details of the evolutionary history of species that they claim are “threatened” by global warming.

  58. AJStrata says:

    If you want to see a great animation on the antarctic water temps from Argo Floats go here:

    http://bulletin.mercator-ocean.fr/html/produits/bestproduct/welcome_anim_en.jsp?zone=acc

    It shows an interesting cycle that is on the cooling trend now.

    I used this source to bolster my theory El Nino and El Nina are actually driven by underwater volcanic activity (not air or solar heating as is the conventional ‘wisdom’):

    http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/18084

  59. A physicist says:

    The already-visible ecological consequences associated to warming Antarctic sea temperatures are well-described here: King Crabs Threaten Seafloor Life Near Antarctica.

    Hmmm … yet maybe the *crucial* endangered species isn’t Antarctic fish, but rather, climate-change skeptics who still are confident that P_\text{CAGW} \lesssim 20\%?

    Because it’s obvious — isn’t it? — that a sustained trend of warming temperatures will devastate the global population of this class of climate-change skeptics.

  60. eyesonu says:

    Google ‘antarctic volcanos’. There are a couple of dozen along the northern edge of Antarctica.

    Volcanos being located along the northern edge of Antarctica is about as significant as this paper. All shores / boundries are north. Of interest is the existance of volcanos.

    The fish doesn’t look like it would provide much of a fillet as the tail section is small and narrow.
    Has anyone ever cooked a penguin?

  61. John Greenfraud says:

    A practical lesson in free market principles:
    Too many research dollars + alarmist zealots = Junk science

  62. Pamela Gray says:

    hmmm. Did the research crew GO there? Or did they just wiki it and plug it into a model? My hunch? Field research is dead. Wiki is the new source for pictures of research subjects. And I lay that at Hansen’s dry feet. He’s the one that had the hubris to collect data from someone else who collected it from someone else who collected it from someone else and then say that his results were accurate to 0.000000005 degrees without ever actually visiting a collection site or calibrating the instruments.

    I seriously doubt these researchers actually got into Antarctic waters with thermometers in hand, looking for these fish and taking water temperatures. I seriously doubt these researchers actually tried to boil one of these spiney fish to check its water temperature tolerance range. Actually, I just seriously doubt all of it.

    Thanks Hansen. You are a real credit to scientific advancement.

  63. DJ says:

    Anthony,
    You need a new category of stories…. Could Might Maybe.
    Unfortunately, it WOULD fill up fast.

  64. John says:

    What was the sea temperature in the southern ocean 10 million years ago? The world as a whole was much warmer, so it is certainly possible that the southern ocean was a degree or so warmer than today (although Antarctic ice had formed starting about 33 million years ago).

  65. RockyRoad says:

    Could, woulda, shoulda, may, might, maybe, etc., etc.

    I can do a thesaurus of weasle words too. I never considered it “science”, however (unless you’re majoring in philology). But grant-seekers find it sufficient to acquire grants. How sad.

    On the other hand, couple the six words above with all the climate-related aspects of the earth and you have SIX TIMES more to study! Eureka–a veritable gold pot of “Grant Science”.

  66. Robbie says:

    I really hate it when these studies are not fully available online. Scientific studies should be online available for everyone to read. Especially those that say it is global warming (ehhh… climate change) which threatens a species.

  67. NC Skeptic says:

    You are missing the point. Let’s say you are an associate professor and you want to study “ the evolutionary history of Antarctic fish and their “anti-freeze” proteins”. There is this group of people with deep pockets willing fund climate change. They give you money. You get to study what you want and all you have to do is pay homage to their cause. And if you do it well enough, you get money in the future because you are one of the good guys. This is called a win win scenario.

  68. DJ says:

    Global Warming…it’s EVERYWHERE!!
    http://news.yahoo.com/global-warming-makes-elephant-seals-dive-deeper-study-181007980.html

    …Anybody noticing that “global warming” is creeping back into the news vocabulary, replacing “climate change”?? Run-up to the election??

  69. oeman50 says:

    Interesting, I lived at a house that had a small goldfish pond, really a basin, that was about 2 feet in diameter and about 18″ deep. It had goldfish in it, which I don’t think have anti-freeze. In the winter, it appeared the pond froze solid, but there could have been some liquid water at the very bottom. When the pond thawed out, the goldfish were always there, swimming around. And that pond would get quite warm in the summer. So I imagine a 2 degree temperature change would kill them all, only because AGW kills everything, except where it doesn’t.

  70. Coach Springer says:

    Again with the studies. My study of university studies shows that those producing studies may lack basic self-awareness and “Have no sense of decency, sir, at long last.”

  71. Larry Geiger says:

    Ian, Ian, Ian. You have now stepped into the trap. I hear the door closing behind you. Quietly. :-)

  72. dp says:

    People – 10 million years ago was a long time ago. Fish forget. They don’t remember how to evolve anymore. Duh. Crazy sceptics!

    /sarc

  73. AdolfoGiurfa says:

    The most endangered species because of GW is the human species, because as a consequence of Green measures too many of them don’t have the means for surviving, they are “underwater” without any “anti-freeze” proteins. :-) (A smiley face, though it is a very serious matter).

  74. Urederra says:

    Ian H says:
    February 14, 2012 at 2:53 am
    You repeatedly mention the Antarctic peninsula as being “where the people and energy use is”. I believe you are making a false implication here. This suggests that peninsula warming is the product of some kind of urban heat island effect. But you are talking about a handful of very tiny (a few dozen buildings) and isolated research stations scattered across an absolutely huge frozen continent. Not much chance of an urban heat island effect going on there I’d say.

    I am not saying that there is UHI effect but take into account that there are only a handfull of surface stations on the whole continent. I don´ know if these few stations are close to scientific settlements.

    If you are interested you can read the Dirty Harry series at Climate Audit, where Steve McIntyre explains the problems found on Steig´s paper.

    http://climateaudit.org/2009/02/01/west-antarctic-stations/
    http://climateaudit.org/2009/02/02/when-harry-met-gill/

    Heh, if you click on the first link and read the comments you can find a post of mine where I suggested Dirty Harry as the title of the series. :D:D:D just 3 years ago. Time flies.

  75. mbur says:

    The anti-freeze in my car radiator keeps it from freezing(lowers the freezing point) and keeps it from boiling over(raises the boiling point).I’m not sure about these fish having that type of blood,but,it would seem to me that having blood like this they would be able to take colder and warmer temperatures.
    Thanks for all the interesting articles and comments

  76. DonS says:

    That stuff in my radiator, which is 50% anti-freeze is referred to in the owners’ manual as “coolant”. Protects the engine from -40F to 210F.
    Maybe, possibly, it could be, it is conceivable that the fish might be able to adapt to a 2 degree warming, or, possibly, swim to cooler water. I’d boil a couple and find out.

  77. Mark Bofill says:

    Uhm, I’m sure this is thirteen different sorts of politically incorrect, but even assuming that this is so, and even assuming that 2 degrees of ocean warming is a reasonable thing to speculate about (coughCoughBSCoughcough), do I have to care about every obscure branch of every species that might produce a dead end that can’t adapt to change? I understand that ecosystems are complicated, but that doesn’t mean they are made of delicate glass that will completely and irrevocably shatter at the slightest disruption either. Many alarmists appear to cling to this fundamental conviction that if people exhibit too much flatulence after a good meal, the whole house of cards will come tumbling down – how is it possible that this planet has sustained life for so many millions of years if it were that unstable?
    ~grumblegrumblegrumble~ end rant

  78. HaroldW says:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadsst2/charts_files/temp_out_hadsst2.png shows current Sea Surface Temperature anomalies. Seems to be a mixed bag near Antarctica, looks more blue (cold) than red (warm) to me though.

  79. Pull My Finger says:

    Let’s just cut to the chase and save ourselves a lot of money and hand-wringing.

    Homo Sapiens endanger everything, everywhere, all the time. Reccomend extermination of this aggresively invasive species.

  80. ferd berple says:

    ” … a lineage of fish adapted to newly formed polar conditions”

    So, what caused these “newly formed polar conditions”? Did someone stop burning coal? Did the cavemen stop driving around in SUV’s?

    Isn’t this the real question? If climate change is unusual, what caused it to change in the past? Where is the evidence that what changed the climate in the past is somehow not at work today?

    What caused antarctic to freeze 36 million years ago? What caused it to melt 26 million years ago? What caused it to refreeze 12 million years later? If you don’t know the answer, you can hardly begin to suggest the same process isn’t at work today.

    What is causing the antarctic freeze/thaw cycle every 10-12 million years? It has now been 14 million years since the freeze, so we are overdue for a thaw. Shouldn’t scientists be worried that the thaw is overdue by 2 million years?

  81. wobble says:

    Anthony, you’re not being fair posting all of those temperature graphs. This guy is an associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. How is he supposed to know anything about the actual temperatures of the area that he’s making claims about?

  82. Max Hugoson says:

    Need to cross breed them with the Lamprey…an Atlantic parasite fish which managed to make it’s way all the length of the St. Lawrence seaway in the 50′s and 60′s ..to Lake Superior. I believe the temperature contrasts would be +/- about 20 C, and the lamprey, bless it’s little blood sucking heart(s) had NO problem thriving as long as it had food. (Whoops, when food became, instead of 500 lbm sea bass, 15 lbm lake trout, it killed them…dang!)

  83. Eric says:

    I know this is a bit off topic, but I did see a reply that mentioned Gore’s Magical Mystical Tour to Antarctica. Did anyone happen to see this story?

    http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/02/13/celebrities-shamed-for-partying-at-clive-davis-soiree-while-whitney-houstons/

    Richard Branson was at a pre-Grammy party on Sunday night…how much carbon did that little jaunt expel? Or has he given up on the cruise after talking to Burt Rutan?

  84. ferd berple says:

    Ian H says:
    February 14, 2012 at 2:53 am
    Not much chance of an urban heat island effect going on there I’d say.

    On the contrary, where do you think the temperature recording stations are located? Are they located near the settlements so that they can be serviced, or are they located hundreds of miles away? Are they serviced by reptiles or warm-blooded creatures using fossil fuel based machinery kept considerably warmed than ambient temperatures?

    Like the frogs dying from contamination by scientists measuring them, the Antarctic record is contaminated by the scientists seeking to measure Antarctica. The Uncertainty Principle in action. Measurement changes the object being measured. Any you cannot be certain of your measurements to determine how much it has changed.

  85. “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,”

    However strange, they did survive all previous climate change…it’s just any future climate change is assumed will “devastate” this “most interesting” of fish. Personally, they are not very appetizing in appearance.

    Just another example of trash science grant funded in the name of “climate change.” Of course no mention of oxygen content as a function water temperature.

  86. Doug Proctor says:

    What would it take to increase the water temperature 2C a few meters below the surface in the Antarctic? A rise in surface temperatures of 20C? For the few months of a year with sunshine?

    Try swimming in Lake Superior in summer, that is, try shoving your feet down (midgets excempted from this test). It is COLD five feet down, despite surface-air temps of 30*C. In a temperature climate.

    The unreality of such statements, implying that somehow water temps could rise 2C in the Antarctic from atmospheric warming of 2C globally, shows how narrow thinking these “scientists” are. They aren’t scientists when they say such things, they are small-imagination, bureaucratically programmed, linear proles with slide rules in their hands. They are the children of the ones who said back in the 60s, smoke a joint today and a year from now you are mainlining heroin.

  87. Ian H says:


    Ian H says:
    Not much chance of an urban heat island effect going on there I’d say.

    ferd berple says:
    On the contrary, where do you think the temperature recording stations are located? Are they located near the settlements so that they can be serviced, or are they located hundreds of miles away? Are they serviced by reptiles or warm-blooded creatures using fossil fuel based machinery kept considerably warmed than ambient temperatures?

    These are science stations – places whose very reason for being is science – staffed by scientists who are not fools. These are not neglected poorly thermometers at an airport. I really doubt that these thermometers are poorly sited. Do you have any reason at all for supposing that they are or are you just spinning stories out of nothing? In any case why would only the thermometers in the stations sited on the peninsula suffer from this heat contamination, while the thermometers at the dozens of other science stations in the Antarctic do not?

  88. Myron Mesecke says:

    I would think that the deep sea vents and under sea volcanoes near Antarctica would be more of a threat than any tiny amount of climate change.

  89. JPeden says:

    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.

    …the study published online the week of Feb. 13 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences The Holy Hockey Stick.

    “It’s Peer Reviewed!”

  90. RockyRoad says:

    A physicist says:
    February 14, 2012 at 6:36 am

    The already-visible ecological consequences associated to warming Antarctic sea temperatures are well-described here: King Crabs Threaten Seafloor Life Near Antarctica.

    Hmmm … yet maybe the *crucial* endangered species isn’t Antarctic fish, but rather, climate-change skeptics who still are confident that ?

    Because it’s obvious — isn’t it? — that a sustained trend of warming temperatures will devastate the global population of this class of climate-change skeptics.

    No. In fact, DOUBLE NO! It is NOT obvious.

    Do you have any evidence that benthonic temperatures are getting warmer? And if so, to what degree? And what are the verifiable consequences? Or are you just into throwing stupid buzzwords and phrases around like “sustained trend of warming termperatures” and “devastate the global population of …” yada yada yada. And then you even have the gall to threaten “climate change skeptics” when you know for a fact that’s a red herring (or will you also claim that’s yet ANOTHER threatened species)? There will always be “skeptics” as long as there are true “scientists”. If you aren’t one, then you aren’t a real scientist.

    Indeed, A, you’re regurgitating EXACTLY what what a lot of people here are complaining about. But I can do you a THOUSAND times better and sit here all day and list a THOUSAND “what if’s” that you can’t refute, you can’t argue, and you can’t justify–and make threats, too, if you want parity. But it’s a waste of time, just as your comment is a waste of time.

    Besides, it is YOUR side of the argument that’s collapsing, and it shows in your rant. That’s right–RANT Climate on Earth has been Changing since Earth was formed. And it will continue long after we’re all gone. That’s the Status Quo your side has hijacked.

    See, it’s so stupid to think that animals can’t adapt. They’ve been adapting by the millions in the past 4.6 billion years. And they will continue to adapt for the next 4.6 billion years. And those that do, do, while those that don’t, don’t. It is what it is.

    By the way, King Crabs have ALWAYS threatened seafloor life anywhere they live, including Antarctica. That’s their nature, and it isn’t caused by a temperature increase of 0.008 degrees.

  91. RockyRoad says:

    Ian H says:
    February 14, 2012 at 8:43 am


    In any case why would only the thermometers in the stations sited on the peninsula suffer from this heat contamination, while the thermometers at the dozens of other science stations in the Antarctic do not?

    Neither of you have any substantive evidence either way, Ian.

  92. Jimbo says:

    Joshua Corning says:
    ………………..
    That is weird…one wonders how they survived the far greater temperature changes over the past 20 million years.

    Facts have absolutely nothing to do with climate change. This is a religion we are dealing with.

    They also don’t like the fact that Polar Bears survived periods of an ice free central Arctic ocean during the last ~11,000 years.

    References:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.08.016
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2007AGUFMPP11A0203F
    http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/21/3/227
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/30/new-peer-reviewed-paper-says-there-appear-to-have-been-periods-of-ice-free-summers-in-the-central-arctic-ocean/

  93. G. Karst says:

    And people wonder why countries, like Canada, are firing their climate researchers. No mystery to me. These leeches are giving us terrible science for premium pay. GK

  94. Werner Brozek says:

    A rise of 2 degrees centigrade of water temperature

    Wow! Just for discussion sake, what increase in air temperature would it take to cause this rise in water temperature?

    Mass of oceans is 1.4 x 10^21 kg;
    Specific heat capacity of ocean water is about 4 kJ/kgK
    IF we for the moment assume the ocean temperature were to potentially go up by 2 degrees C, and IF we then assume ALL this heat comes from the air, how hot does the air have to be?

    Mass of air is 5 x 10^18 kg;
    Specific heat capacity of air is 1 kJ/kgK
    Assume a 2 C rise in ocean temperature.

    Using mct(air) = mct(ocean), I get an answer of 2240 C is the increase in the temperature of the air.

  95. Garry Stotel says:

    Oh, I forgot. Someone mentioned here “few meters below the sea level”. They are deep sea creatures.
    Their habitat is 200-800 meters below, http://www.guppies.za.net/spiny-icefish-chaenodraco-wilsoni-fish-profile.aspx
    That is why they need antifreeze in their blood.
    Global warming at those depths – pleeeeze…

  96. A physicist says:

    johanna says: What nonsense. Leaving aside the improbability of the Antarctic oceans warming 2 degrees, there are pretty much no fish species that cannot withstand temperature fluctuations of that order. They do so all the time, just swimming around.

    How anybody with even an undergraduate biology degree would put their name to this stuff is baffling. They have no sense of shame at all.

    Johanna, with respect, perhaps “they” (but who is “they”?) merely have a sense of the biosphere?

       * Accelerated warming of the Southern Ocean and its impacts on the hydrological cycle and sea ice

    Also, when the seawater temperature drops from one degree above the freezing temperature of flesh, to one degree below that freezing temperature … well … isn’t that a pretty big difference two-degree difference, just by plain everyday common-sense?

    As for your broad point regarding shame versus pride, Johanna, most folks (skeptic and nonskeptic alike) *do* appreciate that excessive confidence, that is not founded upon rationality, is not particularly deserving of pride.

  97. Ian H says:


    Ian H says:

    In any case why would only the thermometers in the stations sited on the peninsula suffer from this heat contamination, while the thermometers at the dozens of other science stations in the Antarctic do not?

    RockyRoad says:
    Neither of you have any substantive evidence either way, Ian.

    Yeah but I am not the one making extravagant claims.

    People are stating on the basis of absolutely NO EVIDENCE that the measurements are UHI contaminated. The original article merely insinuated this, which was merely irritating. Now we have people in the comments actively asserting this which is starting to get seriously annoying. Effectively this is an allegation of incompetence levelled against the scientists in those stations whose job it is to measure those temperatures. It is ridiculous to make such claims on the basis of no evidence whatsoever.

    Furthermore this would require us to believe that not only was there incompetence but there was a widespread and mysteriously coordinated pattern of incompetence whereby scientists based on the peninsula incompetently failed to protect their instruments from environmental heat contamination while those based elsewhere did not. That idea completely fails my smell test.

    Come on people. Are you sceptics or a mindless cheerleading squad. Think for yourselves. Use your brains. Anthony clearly got carried away here with his own rhetoric and took his argument just one unsupportable step too far. I don’t blame him for that. The man writes an awful lot and it is very hard to do that and not make mistakes. But I can’t believe all these people leaping to defend a clear error on the basis of absolutely no evidence whatsoever.

  98. Urederra says:

    Ian H says:
    February 14, 2012 at 8:43 am

    These are science stations – places whose very reason for being is science – staffed by scientists who are not fools. …

    Ahem… not fools?

    There are only 6 surface stations in the West Antarctica area used in Steig et al. paper and somehow they managed to mess up with Harry, the station that showed the highest upward trend. Harry was installed in 1994 but, misteriously, Steig paper reports data for Harry prior to 1994.

    Only 6 stations and they managed to screw up the data of the one that shows the highest trend, They even publish their results on Nature. Way to go, Nature reviewers, where did you review the paper? at the local pub?

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v457/n7228/full/nature07669.html
    http://climateaudit.org/2009/02/03/gavins-mystery-man/

  99. Ari says:

    Last night I heard a show on the Progressive Radio Network about environmental tipping points. I had heard of some of them but others just blew my mind, like declining ocean salinity and the shrinking of the Sahara. I thought shrinking deserts would be a good thing but it just shows how everything on the planet is connected. Here’s the link http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/progressive-commentary-hour/2012/2/6/progressive-commentary-hour-020612.html

  100. Jimbo says:

    A physicist says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:38 am ……………………………….

    Is there anywhere that you have read of a mechanism this century that could raise sea temperature by 2c at 200 – 800m water depth in Antarctica? How about next century?

  101. Olen says:

    Evolution and global warming theory are birds of a feather with equal credibility and apparently of equal collusion.

    My mistake collusion is secret cooperation between two parties for an illegal or dishonest purpose. More accurately they are selling a non-product that is often used in advertising except the buyer knows what he or she is buying.

    Non-products are intended to promote the goals of the agency paying for the advertisement, whether that is environmental awareness or health care. An unethical use of such advertisement would be overstating or changing the facts. This of course has nothing to do with consumers until the force of government imposes their authority on the people in support of the non-product that does not exist.

  102. Jimbo says:

    Ian H says:
    February 14, 2012 at 8:43 am

    In any case why would only the thermometers in the stations sited on the peninsula suffer from this heat contamination, while the thermometers at the dozens of other science stations in the Antarctic do not?

    Hi Ian, read the following:

    Abstract
    Observations of atmospheric temperature made on the Antarctic plateau with thermistors housed in naturally (wind) ventilated radiation shields are shown to be significantly warm biased by solar radiation. High incoming solar flux and high surface albedo result in radiation biases in Gill (multiplate) styled shields that can occasionally exceed 10°C in summer in case of low wind speed.
    http://journals.ametsoc.org/loi/atot

    via
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/10/biases-in-antarctic-weather-stations-reported-up-to-10%C2%B0c/

    The peninsula is warming at certain hotspots it seems. ;>)

  103. Jenn Oates says:

    Dang. I just collected science articles and lo and behold one of them is this exact story. No wonder these kids think it’s real.

    Sheesh.

  104. johanna says:

    A physicist says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:38 am

    johanna says: What nonsense. Leaving aside the improbability of the Antarctic oceans warming 2 degrees, there are pretty much no fish species that cannot withstand temperature fluctuations of that order. They do so all the time, just swimming around.

    How anybody with even an undergraduate biology degree would put their name to this stuff is baffling. They have no sense of shame at all.

    Johanna, with respect, perhaps “they” (but who is “they”?) merely have a sense of the biosphere?

    * Accelerated warming of the Southern Ocean and its impacts on the hydrological cycle and sea ice

    Also, when the seawater temperature drops from one degree above the freezing temperature of flesh, to one degree below that freezing temperature … well … isn’t that a pretty big difference two-degree difference, just by plain everyday common-sense?

    As for your broad point regarding shame versus pride, Johanna, most folks (skeptic and nonskeptic alike) *do* appreciate that excessive confidence, that is not founded upon rationality, is not particularly deserving of pride.
    ————————————————————–
    To clear up the first point, ‘they’ are the authors of this silly paper. I am not sure what ‘a sense of the biosphere’ means, so I will pass on that one.

    I fail to see what Curry and Liu’s paper has to do with the likelihood of extinction of this ugly (but apparently tasty) fish. The record tells us that it is a great survivor. Anyone with a passing knowledge of ocean fish knows that they routinely experience temperature changes of 2C just by swimming around. Long distance travellers like great white sharks experience much greater temperature differences – from the cold Southern oceans to the tropics – in a few weeks. And yes, I know a shark is not a fish in the strict sense, but can’t see why that matters in this context.

    You seem to be suggesting that this fish can only function when its handy anti-freeze adaption is called for. The natural world is full of animals and plants that can survive quite well in both below and above freezing temperatures. They do not have a switch that activates when the thermometer on our back verandah says 0 degrees. They are adapted to a range of temperatures which is much wider than a degree plus or minus the freezing point of water. My birch trees experience 40 degrees in summer and minus ten in winter.

    These fish may or may not be able adapt to tropical sea temperatures, but in the unlikely event of mean Antarctic sea temperatures rising by 2 degrees, my money is on the fish.

  105. Jimbo says:

    A physicist says:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:38 am
    …………………………
    * Accelerated warming of the Southern Ocean and its impacts on the hydrological cycle and sea ice
    ……………………..

    I say decelerated warming of the Southern Ocean and its impacts on the hydrological cycle and sea ice or better still cooling sea surface temperature.
    http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/13-southern.png

  106. Robert Burns says:

    Where was the study published? Is it peer reviewed? Any data? Science by press release? When will the water the fish live in be two degrees warmer?

  107. DesertYote says:

    100 species??? Thats a lie. Their are only 50 species in 8 genera in Nototheniidae. I don’t have time to research, but I would put money down that the only reason that the count is so high is because of splitters. If the moonbats had their way every sub-population would be a species.

  108. AdolfoGiurfa says:

    @mbur says:
    February 14, 2012 at 7:40 am
    A simple compound as Glycerol (propanetriol) will do the trick.

  109. Billy Liar says:

    eyesonu says:
    February 14, 2012 at 6:37 am

    Has anyone ever cooked a penguin?

    Some members of Shackleton’s crew, from 21 Nov 1915 until 30 Aug 1916, lived on the Antarctic ice or Elephant Island (from 24 Apr 1916). They survived mainly by eating seal and penguin, as well as the expedition’s surviving dogs. I am unsure of the fate of the ships pussy cat.

  110. McComberBoy says:

    Ian H says:
    February 14, 2012 at 2:53 am
    You repeatedly mention the Antarctic peninsula as being “where the people and energy use is”. I believe you are making a false implication here.

    What Anthony actually said was, “Maybe they are thinking of the surface record on the peninsula, where the greatest concentration of research stations, people, and energy use is. The air temperature there shows an increase.” And then after the graphs that illustrate the point, “It seems all the warming is in the peninsula, in the air temperature record, where all the people and energy use to keep them warm is.”

    IH, your ability to read your prejudices into simple statements, combined with blinders that allow for only one interpretation is amazing to behold. Facts, as someone once said, are stubborn things. Is it a fact that most of the warming in Antarctica is along the Antarctic Peninsula? Is it a fact that most of the people in Antarctica are along Antarctic Peninsula? Is it a fact that most of the energy used in Antarctica is used in the area where the most people are? If all of those things are facts, your whining about what you think Anthony implied is pointless and irritating. Get over it. They are facts.

    Anthony’s point seems to be that the vast bulk of Antarctica is not warming. The ocean around Antarctica especially is not warming. Therefore the Antarctic Antifreeze Fish is not in danger! The straining at gnats that goes on here by purportedly smart people is taxing at times. Here’s an idea…let’s start looking for camels.

    Of course the dear folks from Yale with their ‘study’ need to explain how they know that the DNA of the ubiquitous antifreeze fish has changed from the time that it began to adapt to the colder water, somehow rendering it incapable of adapting to the mythical warming water that is now on the horizon. As recall from my time in the distant past with my high school biology teacher, the peppered moth in Manchester was the classic example of adaptation to the environment. The moths went from primarily light colored to primarily dark colored and now back to primarily light colored. They did not get stuck in the carboneria mode and were not able to make another adaptation. When these scientists have done the field study that carries some conclusive proof that all of the Antarctic Antifreeze Fish have lost their ability to adapt they can make the claim of endangerment. Then they will only have left to prove that there is warming on the climate horizon.

  111. A physicist says:

    A video that will help folks appreciate the sub-freezing temperatures to which these fish are uniquely adapted is from (wonderful) BBC Planet Earth series, namely the sequence titled Brinicle – Underwater icicle of death .

    No more ice \Leftrightarrow No more ‘brinicles’ \Leftrightarrow no more notothenioids.

  112. A physicist says:

    Jimbo says: Is there anywhere that you have read of a mechanism this century that could raise sea temperature by 2c at 200 – 800m water depth in Antarctica? How about next century?

    Jimbo, every American can call-to-mind citizen-scientists who think ahead on century (and longer) time-frames. These foresighted citizen-scientists *do* tend to be pretty independent-minded in their politics, though. :) :)

  113. Pat Moffitt says:

    It is doubtful that ice fish as an assemblage is in any near term danger given its range of depths, habitats etc and the speed it has shown in radiation over the last 20 million years. While the majority of Notothenoids (ice fish) live in very cold water there are sub-polar species living in water as warm as 10C- so while warming theoretically has the potential to impact some species- it is doubtful any envisioned warming could be a threat to the survival of the sub-Order on any near term timeline. Its a fish that can teach us much about cold adaptation, blood oxygen, and evolution. We should not ask it to teach more than it can.

    The ice fish evolved because of rapid climate change. They are a flock species – having rapidly filled the niche created- as the Yale article states from “the niches left by fish decimated by cold water environment.” (I think they are polyploids which would foster rapid speciation of a newly created niche) This would make this assemblage (flock) akin to what we see in Lake Malawi or Tanganyika- and on land the Darwin finches of the Galapagos. All the fish being highly related. (It is also important to understand that decimated ecosystems are rapidly filled (from a geological perspective) by new adaptive species. The ice fish would not be among us unless those occupying the Antarctic were “decimated.”

    Most of the Antarctic biomass (and fish forage base) is represented by a single species -Pleuragramma antarctica. It shows the same antifreeze qualities of its related kin and according to IUCN its population is stable and not threatened. Unlike many other ice fish this one has pelagic tendencies and can be found in surface waters making it the most vulnerable to predation by penguins and seals.

    The great depths inhabited by ice fish (the spiny icefish and dragon fish mentioned above are found as deep as 900m) should caution against using any surface records in population risk assessments.

    The claim by the Yale researchers “Notothenioids …… are a major food source for larger predators, including penguins, toothed whales, and seal” requires qualification. With the exception of the meat eating leopard seals- the Antarctic penguins and seals are opportunistic feeders with krill, cephalopods and fish making up varying portions of their diet that CHANGES IN TIME AND PLACE.

    The Antarctic ecosystem as with all ecosystems is complex and dynamic. THINGS CHANGE. As an example the amount of silverfish in Adelaide penguin diet for the Ross Sea populations appears to have been increasing over the last 600 years. However, the proportion of silverfish in the diet of the Adelaides at Cape Crozier have been declining over the same period of time. http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FANS%2FANS14_04%2FS0954102002000184a.pdf&code=177885c1ae4c0a90b1a15cd526574854
    Commercial fishing activities especially related to the silverfish predator the tooth fish (Chilean sea bass), whale populations, climate, ocean currents and things we have not yet understood or thought of- all complicate ice fish population projections. The largest recent threat to ice fish in the region has been eliminated with the ban on commercial fishing by CCAMLR.
    Seals and penguins are opportunistic feeders -dining on krill and cephalopods as well as fish. It can be argued that the krill and cephalopods are a more important Arctic food source. These predators adapt to changes in the forage base. They also compete—and the predator-prey dynamics involving whales, penguins, krill and silverfish may be more important than climate in explaining the foraging dynamics-http://www.penguinscience.com/reprints/Whales_penguins_2006.pdf This linked paper is a good one to get a feel for the complexity of the interplay of the Antarctic’s ice, zooplankton, krill, fish, penguins and whales.

  114. Boys and girls – get real!! That fish “ain’t gonna” make it as I’ve gobbled it up – fried with a bit of parsley and dill. – T’was nice deep fried in batter too.

    .Now all we need is a different “thought experiment” devoid of reality, and we will get to the truth. — Fish fu–, no, no — do something unmentionable in the water, the water that you drink. — That’s why you exist!! — Just because fish found a cosy way to keep warm.

  115. Kev-in-UK says:

    Let me get this straight – this is another study to say that CAGW (aka climate change) is gonna cause some extinctions in the world?? And this is abnormal? I mean, have there been NO life form extinctions due to ‘climate change’ over the past 4.6 billion years? If not, then surely, this would indeed (along with all the other alarmist ‘dying’ stuff) be unique – though I suspect two main things:
    1) such events, and great dyings have happened before (I am being sarcastic!)
    2) any future such events, even if due to climate change, are not necessarily to be laid at the door of mankind, and may well have been going to occur anyway – (obviously if AGw is actually of a spectacularly ‘smaller’ scale as may well be the case!)

    Yet another alarmist based presentation, placed well and truly in the ‘forget and burn’ bin as far as I’m concerned!

  116. Jimbo says:

    A physicist says:
    February 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm
    …………………
    Jimbo, every American can call-to-mind citizen-scientists who think ahead on century (and longer) time-frames. These foresighted citizen-scientists *do* tend to be pretty independent-minded in their politics, though. :) :)

    Phew! I thought there was some kind of mechanism (barring asteroid strikes and the like).

  117. Pat Moffitt says:

    DesertYote says:
    “100 species??? Thats a lie. Their are only 50 species in 8 genera in Nototheniidae. I don’t have time to research, but I would put money down that the only reason that the count is so high is because of splitters”

    Think of these fish the way you would cichlids. Countless cichlid species swim Lake Malawi -with the vast majority being less than 15,000 years old (last time the lake nearly dried up). It is the power of polyploidy, unique niches, and the resultant rapid speciation. So rapid was the radiation and so closely linked are the genetics- that species begins to lose it conventional meaning.

    The lines between species are drawn by humans hands not nature.

  118. Pat Moffitt says:

    A physicist says:
    “No more ice No more ‘brinicles’ no more notothenioids.”

    The notothenioids living in TEMPERATE New Zealand waters didn’t get the memo.

  119. DesertYote says:

    A physicist says:
    February 14, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    (wonderful) BBC Planet Earth series

    ###

    Only an idiot would reference this piece of blatant propaganda. I think by now, most people who’s brains still work, realize almost everything in it is a deliberate lie.

  120. DesertYote says:

    Pat Moffitt
    February 14, 2012 at 4:34 pm
    ###
    At lunch I did a little reading … pretty interesting group of fish … I wonder if given a bit a time, some more generalized forms might appear that could displace their more specialized brethren, reducing the number of species.

  121. Pat Moffitt says:

    DesertYote says:
    “At lunch I did a little reading … pretty interesting group of fish…”

    Yes they are and sadly it seems to research them we need to package their study with climate change. With time I would think you would see more speciation not less -as long as they continue to command the niche. The antarctic silverfish however is a pretty generalized form for cold water areas and in some areas comprises over 90% of the fish species and biomass.

    The fish exception to the rule of increased speciation is the bluefish Pomatomus saltatrix – the only specie of the family Pomatomidae. They are found in oceans around the world and in most climates. I’m not sure there are anything like them in being abundant and nearly omnipresent AND the sole extant representative of a family. If you have ever watched them cut through a school of bait fish– they are close to a perfect predator- and perhaps why there was no “need” of further refinement (speciation). They are however strangely absent from the west coast of North America- something the salmon should be continuously thankful for.

  122. Jeff Alberts says:

    DesertYote says:
    February 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    A physicist says:
    February 14, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    (wonderful) BBC Planet Earth series

    ###

    Only an idiot would reference this piece of blatant propaganda. I think by now, most people who’s brains still work, realize almost everything in it is a deliberate lie.

    The cinematography is amazing. Watch it with the sound off, you’ll be glad you did.

  123. anticlimactic says:

    Is it the purpose of mankind to stop all life evolving? It does seem that the aim is to prevent any extinction at any cost. To maintain the world as it is today, forever!

    If the following chart is correct then we are nearly at one of the coldest periods in Earth’s history. This suggests these fish ought to be good for another 20 million years. If not, so be it – something else will take their place. That’s life!

    http://omniclimate.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/28392301.jpg

  124. FThoma says:

    “Arctic and Antarctic instrument errors produce warming bias” http://www.bing.com/search?q=antarctic+instrument+siting&form=OSDSRC and “Frigid Folly: UHI, siting issues, and adjustments in Antarctic GHCN data” http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/13/frigid-folly-uhi-siting-issues-and-adjustments-in-antarctic-ghcn-data/ both indicate a heat island effect in Antarctica.

  125. DesertYote says:

    Jeff Alberts
    February 14, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    The cinematography is amazing. Watch it with the sound off, you’ll be glad you did.
    ###

    I wish I had. It never thought to turn the sound off. The visuals were absolutely stunning, that was why I bothered to watch it. I guess the BBC was counting on the visuals distracting from the insidious lies of the narration, beautifully colored and sweet tasting pills of poison.

  126. Billy97 says:

    Fifty years ago academics believed “Darwin’s Theory of Evolution of the Species”. Now they would never admit they believed it or that it existed.

    The current theory is ‘Welfare of the Species”. All species are wards of the state or UN and are incapable adaptation or survival without the protection of well paid government biologists.
    Ten years from now nobody will admit that they believed in AGW.

  127. DesertYote says:

    Pat Moffitt
    February 14, 2012 at 7:51 pm
    ###

    I did some more reading about how this family partitions its habitat. The rapid specification makes a lot more sense to me now.

    As for Pomatomus saltatrix, what a magnificent animal! I can just image seeing it feed. I once ended up with a couple of Salminus brasiliensis. They have a similar body plan. I had them in a 2000 L tank. Watching these guys was an experience. They were not like a lot of piscivores, that just hang quiet. I seem to remember that each species of Salminus inhabits a different drainage system in South America, and is found throughout that system, kind of like Ptychocheilus in the SW US.

  128. A physicist says:

    Billy97 says: Ten years from now nobody will admit that they believed in AGW.

    Alternatively, if the Seven Big Predictions of AGW have come true by the end of the next solar cycle, few folks will admit they disbelieved it.

    The point being, that rational skepticism has to allow for both possibilities.

  129. Just The Facts Please says:

    The genes for the anti-freeze proteins obviously existed as recessive alleles long before the most ice-age started. Functional coding genes just don’t appear and disappear as rapidly as the alarmists would have you believe. They get switched on and switched off as needed. Destruction takes millions of years of being switched off. Random mutations in genes that aren’t essential for survival can accumulate until after millions of years no copies are left that have any hope of working if switched back on again. If we were to somehow restore the poles to the temperate zones they normally are it would be a very long time before all the anti-freeze genes got wiped out of the global gene pool. This is such a non-worrisome thing it boggles the mind that it’s worth the bandwidth it takes to distribute it in electronic form.

  130. hunter says:

    In the day when big enviro was working to shut down the logging industry in the northwest US, they found some schill to claim that the spotted owl was going to be driven to extinction by logging because they could only live in old growth forests. It was all peer reviewed.
    The logging was stopped. Then it was discovered that spotted owls were perfectly able to adapt to new growth and even urban landscapes.
    This report on the fish is misleading in so many ways as to make even spotted owl liars blush.

  131. Mike M says:

    Just The Facts Please says: The genes for the anti-freeze proteins …

    Or anti-freeze sugar like glucose.

  132. Mike M says:

    A physicist says: The point being, that rational skepticism has to allow for both possibilities.

    To what degree? There exists a point in time where it is no longer dawn and you can actually see the edge of the sun coming up in the east. When I can finally see it I cease to be a rational skeptic that the sun exists and become a believer.

    The only daylight I can see is that there remains zero correlation to suggest that CO2 has ever had any detectable affect on global temperature. Without that all the rest is a window dressing allowing for an endless stream of rationalized excuses by alarmists.

  133. AussiePete says:

    I don’t like to be “picky” but ..I will
    “A rise of 2 degrees centigrade ……………….said Thomas Near, associate professor……………………..”

    2 degrees celsius not 2 degrees of a protractor.
    I would stop reading the pape/article at that point.

    (Apologies if this has already been mentioned earlier in this thread. Certainly drawn much comment.)

  134. George E. Smith; says:

    “”””” Ian H says:

    February 14, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Ian H says:
    Not much chance of an urban heat island effect going on there I’d say.

    ferd berple says:
    On the contrary, where do you think the temperature recording stations are located? Are they located near the settlements so that they can be serviced, or are they located hundreds of miles away? Are they serviced by reptiles or warm-blooded creatures using fossil fuel based machinery kept considerably warmed than ambient temperatures?

    These are science stations – places whose very reason for being is science – staffed by scientists who are not fools. These are not neglected poorly thermometers at an airport. I really doubt that these thermometers are poorly sited. “””””

    Well Ian, I have to disagree with you. It is an absolute certainty that these thermometers are poorly sited, and anyone who can read a map can see that for themselves.

    If you look at a south polar view map of Antarctica, it is obvious that the Antarctic peninsular points northwards to a place that clearly lies outside the Antarctic circle, where it juts out into the warm waters of the Southern ocean, which slosh back and forth from the Pacific to the Atlantic twice a day.

    So if they don’t want to measure such high Temperatures, they need to move these thermometers off the Antarctic peninsula, and move them further south where they will be colder.

    So it IS a siting problem; they put those thermometers in a warm place.

  135. James Worldisgettingwarmer says:

    DesertYote says:
    “100 species??? Thats a lie. Their are only 50 species in 8 genera in Nototheniidae. I don’t have time to research, but I would put money down that the only reason that the count is so high is because of splitters”

    That is because you are a bozo. Yes, you did not have time to research, which is why you did not realize that “Nototheniidae” is one group classified in Notothenioidei, along with Artedidraconidae, Bathydraconidae, Channichthyidae, and Harpagiferidae. It is not a lie, it is an illustration of an uneducated boob talking about something of which they know very little

  136. phlogiston says:

    James Worldisgettingwarmer says:
    February 16, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Put your blog name anongside this temperature history and its clear who’s the bozo.

  137. agfosterjr says:

    The evolution of “antifreeze” is just one more step toward cold adaptation. Before that was the abandoning of hemoglobin. When the polar caps do disappear these fish will go extinct. They would have a hard time competing with fish that have retained their hemoglobin–they would have to evolve it all over again. Not gonna happen. But then the big melt isn’t gonna happen either, not very soon anyway.

    But the claim that the former warm water fish went extinct 30mya doesn’t make much sense either–they should have simply headed for warmer waters. –AGF

  138. prjindigo says:

    Absolute bullshit, antifreeze doesn’t explode the moment the temp passes 0°F.
    Breed them in captivity and then see if they can adapt – do SCIENCE before you publish findings.

  139. agfosterjr says:

    prjindigo says:
    February 18, 2012 at 12:15 am
    =======================================================
    If prjindigo ever returns to this thread it will be his lucky day–he will learn more about it in 2 minutes than he has in his previous life time.

    It’s not about whether these fish can survive in a warm aquarium, or at some particular temperature above freezing. I don’t doubt they can survive water warmer than what they currently thrive in. The fact is, they are temperature specialists. They are very highly specialized. They can live in water that few other fish can survive in. They can compete successfully in very cold water. But put them in warm water and they have to compete with all the other fish. Can they swim faster? No, for starters they have no hemoglobin, which makes for a low metabolism. They’ll be some of the slowest fish in the water.

    See, your body temperature approximately preserves the temperature of the the Devonian waters in which your vertebrate physiology evolved. Your ancestors evolved hemoglobin, a cardiovascular system, lungs, a four-chambered heart, blood cells with no nucei, and so on, just so you could compete with other critters with high metabolism. In Devonian times most fish had lungs. But amphibians came along, and then reptiles, and they evolved higher metabolisms still, and when the reptiles returned to the seas they made the lungfish go extinct. Lungfish only survived in tropical rivers, and the amphibians only survived in fresh water. They survived by dropping out of competition with the top of the line predators. They reverted to breathing through their skin, and some lost their lungs altogether.

    All the so called cold blooded animals have likewise reverted to low energy niches, finding safety in isolation and inactivity. The fish that survived generally took to deeper water–they could not compete with birds. The teleost lung was converted to a swim bladder. The coelecanth lung atrophied as it permanently abandoned surface waters. The ancestors of crocodiles were active, agile predators. Snakes and lizards are in no way representative of their ferocious ancestors, as far as their metabolic behavior is concerned.

    But there was a niche available for cold water fish in fast moving streams with lots of dissolved oxygen, once teleosts had evolved a cold physiology. Hemoglobin doesn’t work at temperatures slightly above freezing. That’s why your cheeks turn red in the cold. So some fish abandoned the metabolism shared by trout and salmon and took to waters too cold even for them. Turn up the heat a little and the salmon will move in. Then that antifreeze will do them no good at all, and they’ll be food for faster fish. They evolved in arctic conditions. Remove those conditions and they will go extinct. No question about it.

    If humans ever brought about such severe climate change it would be possible to keep these species alive in cold aquariums. We’ll worry about that when the sea rises more than 10 inches per century. –AGF

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