A team of American scientists has discovered a new characteristic of the colorful snailfish Liparis gibbus, which inhabits the surface waters of the Arctic seas, where the temperature of the currents often falls below zero.
If a tropical fish were to be found in such conditions, its body fluids would turn to ice crystals, and its blood vessels and cells would rupture.
However, the ‘L. Polar gibbus aren’t afraid of extremely low temperatures because they produce copious amounts of antifreeze that keeps ice from forming inside their bodies, explains a new study from the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the City University of New York. New York (CUNY).
In 2019, museum scientists discovered a brightly colored snailfish during an expedition to study iceberg habitats off the coast of Greenland. It was the first biofluorescent arctic fish and the first specimen of a species that glows in two colors: green and red.
But recently, RNA sequencing revealed another secret of these specimens, one that allows them to survive in frigid waters.
“We already knew that this small snailfish, which lives in extremely cold waters, produces antifreeze proteins, but we didn’t realize how loaded it was with these proteins and how much effort it put into making these proteins.” David Gruber, co-author of the study published Tuesday in the journal Evolutionary Bioinformatics.
Specialists discovered that the ‘L. gibbus’ uses two of the four known types of antifreeze proteins in fish. Their unprecedented high expression of them in their genes helps them adapt to a sub-zero environment, but rising sea temperatures as a result of global warming pose another challenge.
“The Arctic seas do not support a wide diversity of fish species, and our study hypothesizes that as sea temperatures become increasingly warm, ice-dwelling species like this snailfish may face increased competition from more temperate species that were previously unable to inhabit them.” survive higher northern latitudes,” said John Sparks, curator of the museum’s Department of Ichthyology and co-author of the study. (Text and photos: RT in Spanish)
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