In a recent article, we found that people’s power lines make bees aggressive. Their behavior changes so much that they pollinate much less plants and even attack each other. As it turned out, even fish living in fresh waters suffer from the indirect influence of people in nature. Every day, we all wash off the waste products of our life, together with which particles of potent drugs fall into the fish habitat. Because of their effects, the behavior of aquatic inhabitants also changes dramatically - some drugs relax them so much that they hardly go hunting and, therefore, eat less.
In particular, we are talking about the effects of fluoxetine, a substance that is part of the Prozac antidepressant. This medicine is prescribed for people with depression to reduce tension and anxiety, as well as to improve overall mood. Its constituent substances enter into fresh water bodies with the urine of patients and, as it turned out, acts in the same way on the nervous system of the fish that live in them.
The study talks about the effect of Prozac on fish of the Gambruzia holbrooki species. Compared to all other fish, they live a relatively short 3 years and live in fresh waters of North America. Their body length does not exceed 6 centimeters, therefore, like most small fish, they hunt in schools. This allows them to get more food and significantly reduces the risk of becoming prey for larger predators. However, when fluoxetine enters their habitat, they lose the ability to hunt actively and risk starvation.
This was proven in a laboratory experiment conducted by a group of Australian scientists led by biologist Jake Martin. They established two aquariums with fish of the species Gambruzia Holbrooke and exposed them to such doses of fluoxetine that are contained in water bodies. A minimum volume of a substance equal to 30 nanograms per liter was added to the first aquarium. Fish from the second aquarium underwent a maximum dose of 300 nanograms per liter.
Researchers monitored the behavior of aquatic creatures over the next 28 days. It turned out that the medicine really affects their activity. In particular, scientists noticed that under the influence of a high dose of fluoxetine, the fish became more aggressive towards each other and hunted less than usual. Under the influence of a small dose of the substance, the behavior of the fish almost did not change.
According to scientists, their work perfectly demonstrates the negative effect of human waste on the environment. Reduced activity of fish can lead to their death from starvation or from large predators, which can lead to the fact that some species will be on the verge of extinction. But today, animal populations are already suffering from the activities of poachers who sell them on the black market.
In addition, human waste can affect the state of plants important to our planet. And plant growth, among other things, in addition to poor ecology, is prevented by forest fires. In 2018, it became known that more than 500 plant species were irretrievably lost due to human activities.