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Author Topic: QotW - 08.06.08 - How do fish survive in both salt water and fresh water?  (Read 17110 times)

Offline thedoc

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If the salinity of the ocean is constant, is the skin of salt water fish more permeable than fresh water fish so that salt water fish do not have to regulate their body sodium? How do salmon cope in both fresh water and salt water?
Asked by Will Jimenez

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« Last Edit: 10/06/2008 17:04:36 by BenV »


 

Offline thedoc

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Mark Briffa, University of Plymouth. Marine biologist with an interest in behavioural ecology:
Osmolarity describes the concentration of solutes in a solution. The problem that marine and freshwater fishes face are really two sides of the same coin. With freshwater fish there’s a for salts to move out of the body leading to bloating and loss of salts. For marine fishes there’s a tendency for water to move out of the body, leading to dehydration and excess salts. The most obvious trick to cope with these problems is to place a barrier between the insides of the body and the environment outside. The skin of the majority of fishes, both marine and freshwater, is relatively impermeable for water. Fish do need some permeable surfaces for respiration and water still moves between their tissues and the external environment. Freshwater fishes avoid water gain by not drinking and producing large amounts of urine. Marine fishes avoid water loss by drinking and producing small amounts of urine. In addition to these mechanisms fresh water fishes use their gills to absorb salts and marine water fishes use their gills to secrete salts. When salmon and eels migrate between freshwater and the sea there’s a change in the cellular structure of their gills which enables their gills to start secreting salts just like a normal marine fish. All bony fish have to osmoregulate and since they first evolved in the sea it might appear that this would be easier for marine fishes but this is a bit of a red herring.
« Last Edit: 10/06/2008 17:06:23 by BenV »
 

Offline jeremy k

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newbielink:http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/bio99/bio99295.htm [nonactive]

"For most fish, they would die.  But some, like eels and salmon, can move
freely between the two at certain stages of their lives.  To do this they have special
mechanisms of excretion and absorption of salt and water.--ProfBill"

<Mod edit - post expanded to include a quote from the think provided.  Please post some content as well as a link!>
« Last Edit: 05/06/2008 12:45:10 by BenV »
 

Offline tedstruk

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Salmon begin to die the instant they return back into the fresh water.  They are born in fresh water that is brackish from the spawning and immediately swim to the ocean.  As a matter of Islander fact, the salmon swim around at the mouth of the river for weeks sometimes before they make a mad dash up river to the spawning grounds.  There are sometimes rotting salmon still partially alive floating out of the river when winter ice fills the river mouth. what a question....
 

Offline AlphBravo

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Easy to explain the eels and salmon as they start and finish in the Fresh water, but fish like Tilapia can be born in fresh water go down to the sea and back up another river, as do Mollies is it because the fish can tolerate more polluted waters, and sharks do not some of them go into fresh waters to cleanse themselves of parasites?
 

Offline Alan McDougall

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By the process of osmosis, but very few fish do this
 

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