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Arctic Fish

July 27, 2010

Because of climate change, an Arctic fish’s survival strategy might not work much longer.


A fishy generation gap.…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

[water] Scientists in Alaska have tagged greyling fish for decades. They’ve learned that the fish can survive the Arctic’s harsh and variable climate because of a gap between the generations. The older fish thrive during cold summers, and the younger fish thrive during warm summers. No matter what the weather brings, at least some of the fish survive. But with climate change, the Arctic may have more warm summers in a row than ever before. This according to biologist Heidi Golden of the University of Connecticut.

HEIDI GOLDEN (University of Connecticut):
It seems to be what’s happening. We’re getting these longer, dryer sessions, and that’s going to put stress on the adult population, and you can only sustain that for so long before the entire population is going to do poorly.

The scientists don’t know for sure how long that is. Unfortunately, time may tell. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.