Icefish Extravaganza

Grab your south-poles, we’re going ice fishing! 

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

The Antarctic Ocean is home to a marine species called Jonah’s icefish. They’re brackish-green in color, and can grow to nearly two feet in length! And they’ve suddenly become VERY popular!

Autun Purser from the Alfred Wegener Institute and a team of researchers set sail to investigate!

They headed for the southern Weddell Sea in the Antarctic Ocean to explore an area called the Filchner Trough. Here, warm water raises the ocean temperature by two degrees celsius. With cameras and sonar, the researchers gathered visuals of icefish breeding zones from several meters above the seafloor.  

Results? WOWZA! They saw a MASSIVE icefish breeding colony, about ninety square miles in size. That’s larger than Seattle! And, doing the math…it’s a whopping sixty million nests!

The fish are likely a MAJOR food source for Weddell seals and other scavengers. The researchers hope this helps establish a marine protected area in the Weddell Sea!

What jams do baby icefish like? Ice ice baby…

Reference: Purser, A., Hehemann, L., Boehringer, L., Tippenhauer, S., Wege, M., Bornemann, H., Pineda-Metz, S. E. A., Flintrop, C. M., Koch, F., Hellmer, H. H. Burkhardt-Holm, P., Janout, M., Werner E., Glemser, B., Balaguer, J., Rogge, A., Holtappelsm M., & Wenzhoefer F. (2022). A vast icefish breeding colony discovered in the Antarctic. Current Biology, S0960982221016985.