Class blog for sharing and commenting on current events in biology.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Rachel Bothwell                                                                                     February 12, 2014
D even                                                                                                   Mrs. McClellan

For an article from an online journal.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “Solving an evolutionary puzzle: Atlantic killifish thriving in highly polluted water.” ScienceDaily. Science Daily, 12 February 2014.
            In this article it talks about a certain type of fish that can not only tolerate polluted water but actually thrives in it. The type of fish is called an Atlantic killifish, they are only about three inches long, and unlike normal fish they stay in one place for their whole lives. Researchers found these fish in the New Bedford Harbor. At the beginning of the article it asks the question, “How have they been able to adapt and live in such a highly contaminated environment?” The authors states that researchers have found a factor that gives the killifish a resistance to the polluted water, there was a change in receptor protein, aryl hydrocarbon receptor 2 or AHR2. An important fact of the killifish is even though they can tolerate the polluted water the contaminates are still affected whatever eats them such as bluefish, striped bass, and more that are also eaten by humans. Therefore, even though these fish have a special treat it can affect other fish and humans.
I chose to do the article because ever since I was little I have been interested in fish. At my old house we have a big aquarium filled with different corals and fish. Every time we got a new fish I would always watched to see where it would go and all sorts of things. So finding an article about these very different and cool fish just sparked my interest right away. One fact about the killifish that relates to a certain fish I had was that they do not migrate. I had a clown fish and it would always be in the same coral.
I enjoyed reading this article because it had a lot of information. A good part of the article is it asked the question, “How have they been able to adapt and live in such a highly contaminated environment?” I liked that the author asked this question because it asked the question that everyone is thinking and the author does a good job answering it. While reading the article I felt that they used too many abbreviations and I could not remember what meant what. Overall it was an interesting article. 


  1. Very cool article. I have caught killifish in the Long Island Sound just off of Rye. It's amazing how human activities can drive evolution of a species.

    I was interested to hear about your aquarium hobby, as this was the same thing that sparked my interest in marine biology and led me to major in this in college. However, I think to make the relevancy paragraph stronger you could have also mentioned some of the larger implications for society, such as the fact that even though these fish are resistant to pollution, they are feeder fish for larger species who may not be resistant. How will the pollution affect creatures further up the food chain, such as humans? Something to consider!

  2. I really like the topic of this article, in how unusual that some organisms, can they not only live, but they can thrive! It also seems that they have adapted to their environment by developing and evolving their "receptor protein." It is also a little weird how only the killifish have developed, and not other bigger fish. I also like how you put your own personal experiences to fish and their habitat. One thing that could have made this stronger would be to include more research about, maybe other fish that have evolved compared to the killifish. It was a good article overall. Thank you for the share!

  3. I really enjoyed reading Rachel’s review. It was very interesting; I did not know that there were fish that actually thrive in polluted water! One thing that I think Rachel did very well was that she gave lots of background information so I could understand what she was talking about, and she gave information about the science and evolution of these fish. I also liked how she connected this article to her own life! It was nice to read something personal relating to the science topic. Finally, I think Rachel did a great job of critiquing the article. She gave specific details of what she liked and what she thought the author of the article could have done better in writing it.
    One thing that I thought Rachel could have done more of was connecting the topic of the article to the outside world in general. Although she did mention that these fish can affect other fish and humans, I would have liked to know a little more about how this affects us, the food chain, etc. Another thing I think she could have done to make her review better was including some statistics about the fish and the study of them. For example: How many of fish are there? Are they rare? How long did it take them to evolve, because the beginning of manmade pollution is relatively recent?
    The main thing that I learned is that a kind of fish can actually thrive in polluted water! I had no knowledge of this topic before and was very surprised as I read this. I was really impressed with this, but also it is sad that fish have had to evolve so that they can deal with pollution. Pollution is an extremely huge problem on our planet. I enjoyed reading Rachel’s review and would like to learn more about this topic.


  4. I really liked this topic and was thoroughly interested in it and learned a lot from reading it. I felt that you chose a really interesting topic that people really care about. One of the best aspects of this review was the way you explained how the killifish resist polluted water and are able to thrive in it. Another major thing that I found was really well put together in this review was the fact that you incorporated the question of the article into the review itself. A final aspect that I felt was really well presented was the fact that you chose the article not because of the fact that it was the first one you saw but you have a genuine interest in this topic.
    There are a lot of interesting facts that I learned from reading this article and your review of it. One of these is the fact that even though these killifish may be resistant to polluted water, whatever eats them is affected by the contaminates involved. This sort of makes sense in the way that the pollution may stay with the fish even though it is not affecting it but it is none the less an interesting feature. Another very interesting feature of this fish was the fact that the reason this fish has this unbelievable capability of restating polluted water is a simple change in it’s its chemistry. I found it is interesting how it was not due to some adaption or evolution process but a different type of chemical composition.
    Overall this was a great review and a very interesting article to choose from. It was truly a great read but there were some things that you could have done better. Personally I feel that if you had given a little more background information on their environment and where most are found it could have been an even better review. Overall it was really a great read and I had a lot of fun learning about the killifish.

  5. Rachel, I really enjoyed reading your review and the article. It was very intriguing hearing your personal connection to this issue. You did a great job of presenting the information very neatly, and simply. Another aspect of your review which added to the experience, was how you assimilated an important question of the article as a whole, "How have they been able to adapt and live in such a highly contaminated environment?" What you also did good was addressing, how the Atlantic killifish are able to resist the toxicity. I have always been interested in the Ecosystem of aquatic animals, which helped me relate to your story. I am just amazed on how Atlantic Killifish were able to evolve and become tolerant to the toxins in the water. Learning a couple things, reading the article and your review, I learned that evolution can occur on a contemporary scale rather than a geological. Although, reading your article I felt it missed an important factor, you never gave your thoughts about the adaption of the species. One important factor I felt you missed was talking about the ability of the toxins to travel up the food chain. Rachel, did you think this is a good thing that the Atlantic Killifish are adapting to their surroundings? Or do you believe its a hazard because it could possibly poison the fish, and potentially harm us, if we eat the fish? Overall it was an engrossing review, and I am thankful for this experience. There are many questions that were brought up, and it would be interesting to see how this research will play out.

  6. I think that you chose a very interesting article. I can't believe that there are fish that thrive in pollute water. I would think the opposite. You did an excellent job at tying in the article choice to own life. Another aspect that was well presented was how you gave great information about the fish and gave details about where the fish are found. Lastly I think itv was great how you mentioned the questioned asked in the beginning of the article, which really made me think as I read. One thing I learned while reading this article is that killifish actually thrive in polluted water. I wonder why polluted water doesn't affect them like other fish. Another thing I learned was that even though the fish do well in polluted water, if another animal consumes them it can have a negative affect. Why is consumption of the fish a harm to other fish and animals? I believe that your review could have been better if you had gone into a bit more depth with unraveling more of the cause and affect of the fish. Such as why it is a hazard to eat the fish in some cases. Also maybe more information about a specific type of fish or animal that is most affected by the killifish being able to thrive in polluted water. Other than that I truly think that you made some excellent points the article. I hope to find more answers to the questions I brought up.