Antarctic ‘antifreeze fish’ research

This video from the Antarctic says about itself:

On the 21st of December [2007], the ichthyologists had a very successful catch of Marbled Notothenia, also known as the “Antarctic cod”.

From Animal Science Blog:

Genes hold secret of survival of Antarctic ‘antifreeze fish’

A genetic study of a fish that lives in the icy waters off Antarctica sheds light on the adaptations that enable it to survive in one of the harshest environments on the planet.

The study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to search the genome of an Antarctic notothenioid fish for clues to its astounding hardiness.

There are eight families of notothenioid fish, and five of them inhabit the Southern Ocean, the frigid sea that encircles the Antarctic continent. These fish can withstand temperatures that would turn most fish to ice. Their ability to live in the cold and oxygen-rich extremes is so extraordinary that they make up more than 90 percent of the fish biomass of the Southern Ocean.

University of Illinois animal biology professor Arthur DeVries discovered in the late 1960s that some notothenioids manufacture their own “antifreeze proteins.” These proteins bind to ice crystals in the blood to prevent the fish from freezing.

In the new study, U. of I. animal biology professor C.-H. Christina Cheng and her colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences sought comprehensive genetic clues that would help explain how the Antarctic notothenioids survive.

“Nobody has ever actually looked at the whole range of biological functions in these fish that are important for living in this chronically cold environment,” Cheng said. “This is the first study that does that”.

Cheng and her colleagues wanted to know which genes were being expressed (that is, translated into proteins) at high levels in one representative species of Antarctic notothenioid, Dissostichus mawsoni.

They analyzed gene expression in four tissues: the brain, liver, head kidney (the primary blood-forming organ in fish) and ovary of D. mawsoni.

Gut contents and stable isotope analyses of the Antarctic fish, Notothenia coriiceps (Richardson), from two macroalgal communities: here.

Heat tolerance of the secondarily temperate Antarctic notothenioid, Notothenia angustata: here.

Richard Leakey very concerned about Krill fishing – needs information.

The life and achievements of Australia’s foremost polar explorer, Sir Douglas Mawson, are being honoured with the production of a commemorative coin by the Royal Australian Mint: here.

Antarctic toothfish heads on the ice: here.

In the microgravity experiments at the International Space Station (ISS), scientists revealed that supercooled water containing antifreeze glycoproteins accelerates and oscillates its ice crystal growth rate. This seemingly contradictory result may lead to a better understanding of the mysterious antifreeze effect in living organisms. Fish can survive even in subzero environments, such as under ice floes: here.

8 thoughts on “Antarctic ‘antifreeze fish’ research

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