Global Warming Creating Anxious Fish

Nobody knows the troubles I've seen.
Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen.
Fish the world over are rubbing their fins together and fretting over news of climate change. One day they are told earnestly that the world’s oceans are going to boil over. Then the next they are assured that they (the fish) are all going to turn into popsicles since, baby, it’s cold outside. Can you blame them for being anxious?

No, I mean it. Or, rather, some crazy Canucks mean it. According to The Atlantic Cities’s John Metcalfe a couple of Canadian researchers “doped a bunch of juvenile rockfish with an anxiety-provoking drug, and watched what happened.”

“Dude! Like, I dropped the acid in and he was all uhhnnn. Like he swam around, like, with no aim.”

“That is so cool, dude. We’re going to, like, get a paper or whatever out of this, eh?”

In technical terms, “The medicated fish turned out to be skittish, seeking out and hiding in the dark places in their tank, whereas a group of non-drugged fish circulated widely in both light and dark areas.”

What happened next transformed this mundane high school prank into genius. The “scientists increased the acidity in one tank to match the oceans’ expected pH level by the end of the century.”

“Dude! Like I dropped the acid in—the real acid, not, like, that acid acid, like that pH acid—and, like, he tried to hide!”

“Don’t bother me. I’m going out for more donuts, eh.”

Fish in the acid bath swam more “erratically” say the scientists (watch the fascinating video of the fish swimming back and forth here), who traced paths of the routes fish took. Therefore, there could be no other explanation but that the fish must have been more anxious. Therefore, there is no difference between drugs and pH. Therefore global warming is going to provide a boom in fish therapists.

Science marches on.


  1. David

    I get the point, I really do, but why do I feel like an idiot being Canadian all of a sudden?

  2. Briggs


    I think one of the researchers was Red Green.

  3. Scotian

    Come on Briggs, the lead researcher does not even appear to be Canadian but Argentinian who only happened to receive a Ph. D. In Canada and is now working at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.

    David, I’m afraid it would take years on a psychoanalyst’s couch to discover the reasons for Briggs’ deep antipathy to Canadians. 🙂

  4. Briggs


    Why, I love Canadians. I mean, some of my best friends and so forth. Long live Don Cherry!

    (But don’t worry. We counter with Adam Sandler.)

  5. Jim Fedako

    I hope US tax dollars funded this. I wouldn’t want to be accused of free riding off of this valuable research.

  6. DAV

    Everybody likes a good fish story especially one on acid.

    Might be Red Green. Look at the duct tape holding it together.

  7. JH

    I have the feeling that the cute fish shown in the picture has some kind of internal mechanism to detect climate change.

  8. An Engineer

    Fish on! Fishy story. “He swims with the fishes.” Guess they were fishing for competence. Last I checked, the mass of the ocean is a big number. No a huge number. We may not even know the number. My woefully inadequate knowledge of thermodynamics suggests it takes an enormous amount of energy to change ocean temperature, not even considering that the ocean surface reacts to the air and the amount of heat exchanged between either of these most massive bodies is almost impossible to describe, let alone predict with certainty enough to effect the lives of fishes. Then to construct an experiment on fish, confined to an aquarium, and postulate results to an ocean full of fishes is, well to be kind, a stretch. To be truthful – stupidity! I think all scientists need to take a course entitled “Uncommon Common Sense.”

  9. Uncle Mike

    Science is not marching on; it is flopping around like a fish on the deck and rapidly going belly up.

    This kind of fish story may look (somewhat) like science, but it isn’t.

    Fortunately for Scripps, their funding comes via extorting taxpayers, which is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel and why they never have to say they’re sorry.

    If Scripps had to rely on non-governmental funding, i.e. the free market, their doors would close so fast the sonic boom would scare fish around the world.

    Common sense will not cure this disease. Nothing short of draining the gravy lake will save Science. Although I think it’s too late already to revive it.

  10. Yawrate

    My experience with aquarium fish tells me that should the ocean become somewhat less alkaline (in this context ‘acidic’ is misleading), fish will adapt, over time, to the change in pH.
    As for the great white north, Canada is a great neighbor! Who could be unhappy with a country that produced Sara McLachlan, Rush, Labatt and Robert Goulet. A country where the primary sport is hockey. Every country has a few losers, just look at our current, feckless, administration.

  11. Briggs


    Robert Goulet! Do You Hear What I Hear?


  12. Ken

    A team (!) led by Dr. Patrick Davies, of Nottingham University Hospitals, England, recently analyzed the original James Bond novels & concluded that ole’ James drank so much he’d have a life expectancy of 56, liver disease, and would have been incapable of functioning with the women:

    “The spy’s maximum daily alcohol intake was almost 50 units per day and he had only 12.5 alcohol-free days out of the 87.5 days he was able to drink, according to the findings in the Christmas edition of the journal BMJ.”

    “Many studies have shown that people generally underestimate their alcohol consumption by about 30 percent, which means that Bond’s alcohol consumption may be as high as 130 units per week, the study authors said.”

    COMMENT: That latter quote is just plain stupid as it attributes anthropomorphic characteristics (i.e. the ability to underestimate) to a fictional character in a series of novels. But, regardless, their conclusion is hard to argue with:

    “…excessive drinking is a global health problem that causes 2.5 million deaths a year. However, movies and other sources of entertainment often portray drinking in a positive, even glamorous, way.”

    People are getting paid for doing such studies, or, having done them gain some free advertising & notoriety they can parlay into something else…there’s a lesson there…

  13. Ken

    RE: Yawrate’s remark:

    “As for the great white north, Canada is a great neighbor…”

    Actually, Canada is our Southern neighbor…if you’re in or near Detroit anyway. Handy bit of trivia to win a bet here & there….

    Interesting book on that: “Detroit: An American Autopsy,” by Charlie Leduff: Four point Five stars out of Five, 546 reviews on Amazon. Among other things, Detroit was a bastion of the Democratic Party for decades…and here we are…. After reading the book one might conclude that Detroit’s leadership over the years acted much like LSD-laced aquarium fish…

  14. Scotian

    Ken, that is why M sent 007 to a health clinic to dry out in Thunderball!

    Why does everyone still assume that this story has anything to do with Canada. I really despair at times.

  15. Ray

    It’s the new Puritanism. The old religious Puritans were supposedly obsessed with sex but the new secular Puritans are obsessed with health.

  16. Andy

    The BMJ study about Bond is literally a joke. The Xmas edition of the BMJ is traditionally a joke od comedy issue. Look up the study regarding having sex in an MRI scanner if you don’t believe me.

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