Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Antarctic fish study may aid cardiac research

30.03.2004


A species of fish that lives in Antarctic waters may hold clues to climate change and lead to advances in heart medicine. Researchers from the University of Birmingham and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) are investigating the behaviour and physiology of the ’Antarctic Cod’ (Notothenia coriiceps) which became isolated from its warmer water cousins around 30 million years ago when the Antarctic circumpolar current was formed.



The olive-coloured fish has broad head and a narrow body. Whilst scientists know that it has ‘antifreeze’ in its blood and maintains a very low heart rate of less than 10 beats per minute, almost nothing is known about its behaviour or how it evolved to live in Antarctica’s extreme environment.

Discovering how the species may cope with predicted environmental change could help stock management or conservation of biodiversity within the Southern Ocean. In addition, it is possible that this research could lead to advances in medicine, especially relating to the problems experienced by human hearts when made to beat slowly (e.g. during surgery involving heart-lung bypass) or fail to beat fast enough (e.g. as a result of hypothermia in water or exposure on a mountain).


At the BAS Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula small acoustic tags (called ’pingers’ due to the sound they make) are painlessly attached to the fish and the signals picked up by underwater microphones to monitor position, while data loggers measure heart rate. In the laboratory, Dr Hamish Campbell, monitors heart performance of the fish in a similar manner to that used with patients in a chest pain clinic. The unique combination of tracking and recording technology shows how the heart rate is controlled, and its response to changing demands due to feeding or a rise in temperature.

Physiologist Dr Stuart Egginton, from the University of Birmingham’s Medical School is leading the study: He says,

"This pioneering work will shed light on what animals get up to during the impending 24h darkness of a polar winter, how sensitive they are likely to be to climate change, and perhaps pave the way to understanding how we may prevent a cold heart from fluttering. We know enough to realise this ‘cod’ is different from those species living in the chilly North Sea, but not enough to be sure whether its strange characteristics are a response to the extreme cold, or because it is a descendant of unusual ancestors that has developed this way during its extended isolation from other fishes".

Dr Keiron Fraser from BAS says,
‘This is the first time that we’ve been able to find out how these fish live. Many Antarctic marine animals can live only within narrow temperature ranges and some die at around +5°C. Climate models predict a 2ºC rise on global sea temperatures over the next 100 years. One of the areas that we are trying to understand is how this fish species will respond or adapt to major environmental stresses, and how well it may survive the predicted environmental warming.’

Linda Capper | alfa
Further information:
http://www.antarctica.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>