Fish on Prozac show how our marine litter is disrupting them


The oceans are the world’s garbage. You can find everything there. Plastic of course, but also many drugs in the form of microparticles, to the great misfortune of marine life.

Ingested by humans, antibacterials, pain pills, antidepressants and more are dumped into sewers, before passing through sewage treatment plants, rarely designed to handle these chemicals. These substances end up in rivers, then end their journey in the seas, where the fish of all kinds swallow this real cocktail insidious pharmaceutical.

This “Drug soup”, as the media Science Alert calls it, is not without consequences for marine species. It would affect a whole pallette of behavior of fish, to the point of transforming them into real zombies, according to a new study led by Giovanni Polverino of the University of Western Australia and published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Polverino’s team focused on a drug found in the oceans: fluoxetine, known under the brand name Prozac. This antidepressant, also indicated for various anxiety disorders, is among the most prescribed today in France.

Scientists have observed the behavioral evolution of guppies, fish of the Poeciliidae family, subjected to a low concentration of fluoxetine (Prozac), equal to that in the oceans, then high. The results are cold in the back.

Zombie fish

Shooted with antidepressants, the fish lost all “individuality”: they all started to act in the same way, adds the scientific media. Even at low fluoxetine levels their behavior changed and as the dose increased the phenomenon also increased. A real aquatic walking dead.

Like guppies, other species have been the subject of similar laboratory studies. Thus, on antidepressants, the cuttlefish would have memory problems. Prozac is no more suitable for shrimp which, once drugged, tend to swim towards light sources – where, in the natural environment, many predators are found.

The trend of drugs discharged into rivers and seas is unlikely to improve, quite the contrary. Scientists estimate that the volume of pharmaceuticals in freshwater could more than double by 2050, reports The Time.


Source: Slate.fr by www.slate.fr.

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