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Cold empties Bolivian rivers of fish

Renae

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With high Andean peaks and a humid tropical forest, Bolivia is a country of ecological extremes. But during the Southern Hemisphere's recent winter, unusually low temperatures in part of the country's tropical region hit freshwater species hard, killing an estimated 6 million fish and thousands of alligators, turtles and river dolphins.

Scientists who have visited the affected rivers say the event is the biggest ecological disaster Bolivia has known, and, as an example of a sudden climatic change wreaking havoc on wildlife, it is unprecedented in recorded history.

"There's just a huge number of dead fish," says Michel Jégu, a researcher from the Institute for Developmental Research in Marseilles, France, who is currently working at the Noel Kempff Mercado Natural History Museum in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. "In the rivers near Santa Cruz there's about 1,000 dead fish for every 100 metres of river."
http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100827/full/news.2010.437.

I believe I mentioned another story like this earlier, from Peru.
 

spud_meister

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damn, that's really gonna bugger up the ecology there for a long time. :(
 

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PeteEU

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more interested in if there has been rain to replenish the rivers and glaciers and ice packs.
 

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That damn global warming!
 

LaMidRighter

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damn, that's really gonna bugger up the ecology there for a long time. :(
Depends on duration I'd guess. If it's followed by a warm snap the population could recover very quickly. Besides, that area of the globe is an ecological pendulum, it's extreme weather to begin with so people can expect this kind of hit to the wildlife routinely. Still, it's a pretty devastating event.
 

spud_meister

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Depends on duration I'd guess. If it's followed by a warm snap the population could recover very quickly. Besides, that area of the globe is an ecological pendulum, it's extreme weather to begin with so people can expect this kind of hit to the wildlife routinely. Still, it's a pretty devastating event.

that depends on many factors though, and due to the amount of dead fish, the predators could recover faster and send the ecosystem out of balance, or it could cause algae blooms which could kill the rivers, anything could happen, but according to the article, there could be more to this than just the cold.

Because the deaths occurred mainly in rivers, Smolders suspects that they are linked to infection. "Some of the fish that I saw had white spots that may indicate disease. The cold probably made them very susceptible to all kinds of infections," he explains.

Jégu has another hypothesis. He thinks that the burning of farmland around Santa Cruz, a regular part of the farming cycle locally, has occurred at particularly high levels this year. That might have been a contributing factor in the fish deaths, possibly because the smoke added to river pollution.
 

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that depends on many factors though, and due to the amount of dead fish, the predators could recover faster and send the ecosystem out of balance, or it could cause algae blooms which could kill the rivers, anything could happen, but according to the article, there could be more to this than just the cold.

If it is a cold snap in a usually not cold area, that water flipping will definitely kill a ton of fish.

I see it all the time around here with season change and private ponds.
A cold snap, out of no where, will decimate a private stock pond.
 

LaMidRighter

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that depends on many factors though, and due to the amount of dead fish, the predators could recover faster and send the ecosystem out of balance, or it could cause algae blooms which could kill the rivers, anything could happen, but according to the article, there could be more to this than just the cold.
I think they are right about infection TBH. Something was "fishy" excuse the pun because of the very cold blooded nature of fish most species can survive excessive cold, they just go into a type of hibernation. The reptiles on the other hand though I could totally see that being a "cold kill". Overall you're right though, too many factors to predict a final outcome.
 

Harry Guerrilla

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I think they are right about infection TBH. Something was "fishy" excuse the pun because of the very cold blooded nature of fish most species can survive excessive cold, they just go into a type of hibernation. The reptiles on the other hand though I could totally see that being a "cold kill". Overall you're right though, too many factors to predict a final outcome.

The sudden water flip can kill them pretty fast.

Even though they usually adapt to colder temperatures.
 

LaMidRighter

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If it is a cold snap in a usually not cold area, that water flipping will definitely kill a ton of fish.

I see it all the time around here with season change and private ponds.
A cold snap, out of no where, will decimate a private stock pond.
It depends on the species too. Tropical fish don't have a very good margin of error where temps are concerned, I think about 10 degrees one way or the other. These particular species are tougher I think but not sure.
 

Harry Guerrilla

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It depends on the species too. Tropical fish don't have a very good margin of error where temps are concerned, I think about 10 degrees one way or the other. These particular species are tougher I think but not sure.

My grandfather has a catfish pond, here in the winter it can get pretty cold.
Usually near or under freezing.

His whole pond was killed off from a cold snap, these guys are even more tolerant of cold than tropical fish are.
 

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My grandfather has a catfish pond, here in the winter it can get pretty cold.
Usually near or under freezing.

His whole pond was killed off from a cold snap, these guys are even more tolerant of cold than tropical fish are.

Rivers hold heat better than ponds, when ponds are frozen over river still flow, and while the cold played an undeniable part, it looks like it may have been more than that.
 

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My grandfather has a catfish pond, here in the winter it can get pretty cold.
Usually near or under freezing.

His whole pond was killed off from a cold snap, these guys are even more tolerant of cold than tropical fish are.
Eeesh! It does happen, catfish are pretty tough too. I dunno, that had to be one hell of a swing though and I think the "climate scientists" are taking a huge leap in the AGW direction instead of trying to figure out why the temperature swing happened and if it has cyclical or historical relevance.
 

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Rivers hold heat better than ponds, when ponds are frozen over river still flow, and while the cold played an undeniable part, it looks like it may have been more than that.

Even then, the sudden stress is what can cause the deaths or at the very least weaken the bodily defenses of the fish.

So it is true that disease could of landed the finishing blow.
 

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Eeesh! It does happen, catfish are pretty tough too. I dunno, that had to be one hell of a swing though and I think the "climate scientists" are taking a huge leap in the AGW direction instead of trying to figure out why the temperature swing happened and if it has cyclical or historical relevance.

It happened 'cause Antarctic weather is a bitch in Winter, I doubt global warming had a part in this.
 

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It happened 'cause Antarctic weather is a bitch in Winter, I doubt global warming had a part in this.
That was my thinking as well. I thought the story read a little too AGWish though. I know I certainly couldn't get paid nearly enough to live or work that close to the poles.
 

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Even then, the sudden stress is what can cause the deaths or at the very least weaken the bodily defenses of the fish.

So it is true that disease could of landed the finishing blow.

Yeah, so until there's studies done, we can only speculate.
 

Harry Guerrilla

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Eeesh! It does happen, catfish are pretty tough too. I dunno, that had to be one hell of a swing though and I think the "climate scientists" are taking a huge leap in the AGW direction instead of trying to figure out why the temperature swing happened and if it has cyclical or historical relevance.

Yea, I told him to aerate it to minimize some of the stress with future cold snaps.
Even then it's not fool proof.

I'm not convinced on the man caused GW stuff.
Seems to be a bit out there.
 

spud_meister

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That was my thinking as well. I thought the story read a little too AGWish though. I know I certainly couldn't get paid nearly enough to live or work that close to the poles.

:lol: Neither could I, I cringe every time we get a southerly wind that brings up the cold weather, which is why I don't think AGW is to blame.
 

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I only posted teh article cause of the level of cold induced devastation. You can't find a Wx story these days that doesn't take sides in the AGW mess, so... this was a "Global Warming caused Bolivian Cooling!" angle. Whatev's, lots of **** died man.
 

Renae

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True because it is the destabilisation of the climate that would have in all probability caused this.

HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHHAHAHHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHHAHHAHHAHA'

Oh man, that cracked me up, seriously.
 
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