publish date 2021-07-21 08:04:20
A giant 100lb (45kg) “moonfish” was found dead on a beach in Seaside, Oregon, last week and has shed light on the extent of climate change.
Moonfish, also known as opah, are three and a half feet long and are commonly found in tropical and temperate waters, but as oceans warm due to climate change, marine life is heading north to escape the colder waters.
These fish can be up to six feet in length, but Heidi Dewar, a research biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Department, told the Washington Post: “I wouldn’t expect to find such a size normally outside of Oregon.”
Besides providing insight into climate change, wildlife officials hope to use the fish to learn about the basic biology and ecology of the opah, which remains a mystery to the scientific community due to a lack of research.
Dewar told the “Washington Post” that the fish will be frozen and dissected by the students to reveal its secrets.
She also explained that stomach contents can help determine their diet and tissues can reveal where fish live.
The opah was reported to the Seaside Aquarium on Wednesday, July 14th.
The astonishing blue and orange creature was discovered lying on the beach with one fin raised in the air.
The Seaside Aquarium shared the announcement in a Facebook post, which notes that it is very rare to see an opah of this size so far in the north, because it is limited to temperate waters in the southern hemisphere.
The discovery of the dead opah this month coincides with a study released in April 2021 that found that warming oceans have forced tens of thousands of marine species to abandon their tropical homes along the equator and move to colder waters.
The researchers, led by the University of Auckland, found the mass displacement of nearly 50,000 species including fish, mollusks, birds and corals that have moved toward the poles since 1955, according to the study published in the journal PNAS.
Scientists say the species is moving to escape rising surface temperatures that currently average 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius).
The results show that rising temperatures make the tropics unbearable for native species, but that these creatures move into subtropical waters, or even toward the poles, where the Earth is also warming.
Massive and mysterious, a 100-pound fish washed ashore. Scientists hope to learn its secrets. https://t.co/uOKmqW3eZh
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 19, 2021
#Find #mysterious #giant #moonfish #uncover #secrets
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