Nav: Home

Seven years later: BP oil spill settlement funding new way to manage fish populations

April 19, 2017

ST. PETERSBURG, FL (April 19, 2017)- More than 30,000 fish species exist. But it's always been a guessing game on where they originate. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science is paving the way in discovering where a wide-range of species spawn. It's a difficult task as 95% of fish in the world release their eggs into the water and drift away.

Marine biologists are gathering samples of hundreds of free-floating fish eggs in the Gulf of Mexico. They then extract DNA from each one and amplify and sequence a specific barcoding gene. That gene is then compared to a database, revealing the fish's identity. Previous studies have looked for eggs belonging to a specific fish species. This work is groundbreaking as it determines the complete composition of fish egg communities, which could contain more than a dozen species.

"This is pioneering work. They can be underneath everyone's noses for decades and no one would know it, they just get called fish eggs they have no idea what species they are," says co-lead investigator Ernst Peebles.

Since the fish eggs are only a few hours old, this technique allows researchers to assign spawning locations with certainty, as opposed to methods of looking for older larvae which could have been floating in the ocean for weeks or even months. Identifying spawning sites will enable better management and protection of critical habitats for economically and ecologically important fish species in the Gulf of Mexico.

This innovative research is a positive outcome from the tragic Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It's funded by the RESTORE Act, an acronym for Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States. In addition to the 2-year pilot study, USF researchers are competing to win funds for an additional 15 years of monitoring and special studies.

The results could provide an essential baseline of fish spawning habitats in the Gulf of Mexico, which is critical knowledge should another disaster occur.
-end-


University of South Florida (USF Health)

Related Fish Articles:

Reef fish caring for their young are taken advantage of by other fish
Among birds, the practice of laying eggs in other birds' nests is surprisingly common.
How to keep fish in the sea and on the plate
Temporary bans on fishing can be better than permanent ones as a way of allowing fish stocks in an area to recover, while still providing enough to eat, a research team has found.
Anemones are friends to fish
Any port in a storm, any anemone for a small fish trying to avoid being a predator's dinner.
Fish farmers of the Caribbean
There are only so many fish in the sea. And our appetite for seafood has already stressed many wild fisheries to the breaking point.
When a fish becomes fluid
Zebrafish aren't just surrounded by liquid, but turn liquid -- in part -- during their development.
Swapping bacteria may help 'Nemo' fish cohabitate with fish-killing anemones
The fish killer and the fish live in harmony: But how the clownfish thrive in the poisonous tentacles of the anemone remains a mystery.
Fish can detox too -- but not so well, when it comes to mercury
By examining the tissues at a subcellular level, the researchers discovered yelloweye rockfish were able to immobilize several potentially toxic elements within their liver tissues (cadmium, lead, and arsenic) thus preventing them from interacting with sensitive parts of the cell.
How to make fish shine
Scientists from the University of Bath have helped to figure out why shoals of fish flash silver as they twist through the water by studying how the shiny silver cells are created in zebrafish.
A breakthrough for Australia's fish
A research team from the Threatened Species Recovery Hub has made a breakthrough that could help dwindling numbers of Australian freshwater fish species.
Shrimp heal injured fish
James Cook University scientists in Australia have discovered that shrimp help heal injured fish.
More Fish News and Fish Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.