Science and TechAnimals and Insects


Reef Fish Make Riskier Choices If They've Been Exposed To Oil

A team of researchers found the neurological systems in young fish are seriously affected by crude oil — even in tiny doses.
Posted at 2:26 PM, Jul 18, 2017

This may not come as a shock, but baby fish and oil spills don't mix.

A team of researchers put a type of crude oil into a simulated environment with six different species of coral reef fish, and it turns out even the slightest exposure can cause young fish to make life-threatening decisions.

Fish exposed to the oil were worse at escaping from predators, lacked normal survival instincts and chose habitats that didn't provide much protection or camoflauge. 

The oil also contributed to the stunted growth of the baby fish and increased the chances of death in the 24 hours after exposure.  

The findings could mean a lot when it comes to long-term reef health. Some fish help get rid of algae that blocks corals from growing and are key to a healthy ecosystem.

Plus, coral reefs around the world are already at risk from human activities like drilling and industrial runoff.