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Endangered Species: The Bobfish

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Emily Thibault

on 2 November 2012

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Transcript of Endangered Species: The Bobfish

Blob Fish Psychrolutes marcidus By: Emily Thibault & Anna Denesyk http://australianmuseum.net.au/movie/Mark-and-Jeff-talk-about-Mr-Blobby The blobfish lives at the bottom of the great barrier reef. It lives in such high pressured waters that most fish can not survive in those depths because the blobfish lives so far down in the ocean it has very little choice in what to eat.
The great barrier reef has little biology on different types of organisms that live down there.
With very little research scientists know that the blobfish eats any organic material that floats in front of it. such as mollusks, crustaceans, crabs, plants and any other pieces of garbage that have managed to get down to the bottom of the ocean. The blob fish is a bottom feeder. Its body density is lower than that of water, so it simply floats and drifts close to the ocean floor, eating whatever little organisms happen to crawl or scuttle by.
The blobfish has no muscles, nor bones, so it doesn't have much choice in what it can eat; it has to take what it gets. Since the blobfish live so far in the ocean and does not move a lot scientists have made the assumption that there is not a huge competition the blobfish's niche habits. June 2003, over 20 scientists from around the world went on a fishing fieldwork trip on the great barrier reef to try to find new organisms. Using submarines they explored the Tasman sea ( the sea between New Zealand and Australia). The scientists did trawls (catching fish with a net) and doing the trawls around 2000 m deep into the ocean. The scientists found over 40 different new species of fish. One of them being the blob fish What is most interesting on the blob fish is that scientists have found that the blob fish has little to no gas bladder
The gas bladder (also considered as an air bladder) is an organ at the bottom of a fish which helps to keep the fish afloat in the water. Every fish has a different buoyancy (gas bladder) and all the oceans, lakes, water have different densities. The blob fish also has little to no muscle in it’s body. The blob fish doesn't have to worry about much, the ocean is its transportation. The blob fish stays at the bottom of the ocean without much movement and waits for its food to come to it. The Daily Niche of the Blob fish
What type of organisms rely on the blob fish? Scientists are unsure about the endangered species status on the blob fish. The last documented sighting of the blob fish was in 2006. Some scientists believe they could already be extinct. Since deep sea fish trawling is so destructive not only is the blob fish being close to being extinct but the plants and bottom of the ocean being destroyed by the nets and killing habitats, food and other things that are vital for fish.
Very little research has been found on the blobfish so it is not precise what organisms feeds off the blob fish. With research scientists do know that if the blob fish were to become extinct there would be an impact on the deep marine ecosystem.
There is a hypothesis that if the blobfish were to become extinct there would be an increase in bottom dwelling organisms and an increase in organic material in the ocean because the blobfish would not be there picking up the garbage.
There could also be an increase in other bottom feeders that could be feeding off some of the bottom dwelling organisms like crabs, etc. The blob fish has a very unique and recognizable appearance. It's most noticeable feature is its gelatinous and almost human face. It has a definite bulge of matter that resembles a large and bulbous nose, and two sad little black dots that are the fishes eyes. The look is complete with a huge frown right under its huge nose. Its body is a pale, white colour, and the blob fish grows to be about two feet long. What will happen to their eco system? Why is it endangered?! The fact is although it's not a particularly active fish, it can't get hunted on account of it's habitat. The blobfish lives off the coast of Australia and New-Zealand in the Tasman sea, at between 2000 and 3,900 ft. below sea level. At that depth, there are very few fish that can survive, meaning the blobfish, even if it's pretty much a sitting duck, doesn't get hunted. That may raise questions as to why it's endangered. The answer is that although it doesn't get hunted, fishing nets tend to catch it by accident. The blobfish dies almost immediately after being brought up from the water, since it dries out, and there's such a difference in pressure. Most fish as small as the blobfish would be able to escape the nets, but seeing as the blobfish has no control over it's muscle-less and boneless body. The blob fish lives in 800m or lower depths in the ocean. Since they have little to no muscle in the bodies they do not get much of a choice in where they live. Their gelatinous body will decide where they will float. All the blob fishes have a different gelatinous density so they all live in different depths.
There have been some studies of the blob fish. Scientists think that when the blobfish reproduces it will protect it’s eggs like a bird.
The main reason blob fish do not have a gas bladder is because they live in such high pressured water it would be in no use. They also use very little oxygen.
There are some studies that you can’t actually eat the blob fish because of it’s jelly like flesh.
Blob fish rely on the deep so much that when they are taken out of the water it takes very little time for them to die because they flesh dries up and kills them. Learning from the Blob Fish Since the blob fish lives at such a low depth and is so rare, only a few of them have ever been found. The first one was caught in 2003, when over 20 scientists from around the world went to the great barrier reef to search for new organisms. They succeeded, finding over 40 new species, including the blobfish. Only 13 have ever been found, the most recent in 2006. There is debate whether the blobfish is threatened, or already extinct. With a fish that shows up as often as the blobfish does, it's difficult to tell how many are left. The fishing industry does not purposely fish for the blob fish. The blob fish just tends to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. The blob fish gets caught up in the nets and having no muscles it is near to impossible for this fish to escape from the nets.
There are parts of the ocean that are protected against fishing but, it is protecting the coral reef not the blob fish.
As far as we know the blob fish could already be extinct because of overfishing. The fishing industry has gone over 200 m deeper in the oceans.
The blob fish is helpless against the fishing industry.
In 2006 humans came close to shutting down the fishing industry in the blobfish’s natural habitat but not all the countries were in favor.
There are many different ways to help the blob fish such as not eating fish, encourage sport fishing instead of commercial fishing and encourage fish farms instead of fishing from the seas.
Sadly enough it is not for sure if the blob fish is still living in our oceans. It is extremely important to respect other organisms. The blob fish is a rare find that we could learn a lot from but, we will not know until another one happens to turn up. The blobfish's cousin There are 2 types of blob fish known to humans.
Western Blobfish, Psychrolutes occidentalis
discovered by Dr Joseph Nelson in 1990
and
Psycholutes marcidus (Eastern Blob fish)
NORFANZ Fish field work, 2003 Names blobfish
fathead sculpins Terms Family Name: Psychrolutidae
Genus: Psychrolutes
Order: Scorpaeniformes Future? It is really unknown about the future of this interesting organism because we don't even know if it still exists today. Proves how sensitive the eco-system can be when humans get involved. In Conclusion The blob fish is one of the weirdest, ugliest creatures leaving in the ocean. It lives where most fish can't and will clean up the ocean by eating the organic materials.
The blob fish can be sad because we don't even know if it exists. Over fishing does not just harm this fish but many others.
Hopefully the blob fish is still floating at the bottom of the sea cleaning the ocean for us.
Maybe we will even see it smile one day.
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