Fish news

 

Fish  Bowls in Hotels… “Do Not Disturb”

 When the Partners of PS travel…they always look for different interesting places to stay in the US and abroad. Here is a company based in San Francisco called Kimpton. They are huge pet lovers and wanted to share that and their love of fish with their customers.
 The story was brought to us by Tim McKeough our friend at the NY Times.

 As the vice president of design for Kimpton Hotels, a company based in San Francisco, Ave Bradley spends a lot of time trying to anticipate what a traveler might need — even something as improbable as a temporary pet.

Under the company’s Guppy Love program, many of its hotels offer guests an in-room fish to keep them company.

“It was the idea of a former general manager at the Hotel Monaco in Seattle” — one of the Kimpton hotels — “to provide little fish friends to anyone who wanted a pet companion,” Ms. Bradley said. “You call downstairs and get one delivered, and then our staff will care, feed and tend to the fish throughout your stay.”

A fishbowl also adds a decorative element to a room, she noted, and some of the most interesting ones may not have been intended for that purpose.

At the Other Shop antiques store in San Francisco, for instance, she found a vintage glass jar once used to hold butter pretzels.

“An orange goldfish flying around in that bowl would be so darling,” she said, noting that the fish would match the orange printing on the jar.

At Cole Hardware, in the Russian Hill neighborhood, she found a more utilitarian option: lidded glass jars.

“For the person who might be on a budget,” she said, “the oversize, short, squat guys would be great for fishbowls.”

She also liked the large, stately glass jars at Big Daddy’s Antiques. “If you did a dinner party and had five of these vessels with fish in them,” she said, “it would be an amazing tablescape.”

Online, she found more contemporary styles, like the acrylic wall-mountable fishbowls from Danya B on Amazon.com.

“Imagine a series of those on a wall,” she said. “It would be a blast — it would look like portholes.”

And finally, on the Conran Shop site, she picked out the Fish-scape by Aruliden, a “really beautiful” glass bowl indented on the bottom to form an underwater landscape.

With so many appealing fishbowls to choose from, Ms. Bradley must be tempted to introduce some goldfish into her own home, this reporter speculated.

“I tried it as a kid,” she said. “But I didn’t actually have such good luck with them.”

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Fish can walk??….Maybe when younger…like 1000s of years ago.

 Being part of Pet Starship gives us a way to look at how species developed over the 100s of years. We never thought fish walked and not swim. So when the National Geographic  researched this history of certain fish…we had to get involved. Thanks to our friend James Owen for contributing to this story.

While other fish are known to stroll and some even have hands—this is the first time the behavior has been seen in a fish related to the first land-walkers. The find could mean that our ability to walk originated underwater, researchers say.

In the lungfish, “this ability is surprising, because lungfish don’t have feet!” study leader Heather King said via email.

Based on observations of the fish’s movements in glass tanks in the lab, the study showed the lungfish were able both to push off a solid surface and move along it using their pelvic fins.

“We found that the lungfish uses a range of gaits, from walking (alternating the limbs) to bounding (moving the limbs synchronously),” said King, a biologist studying at the University of Chicago, who collaborated with past National Geographic Educational graphic Society owns National Geographic News.)

Living Links to Missing Links?

The finding offers new insight into how animals with backbones first hauled themselves from prehistoric seas hundreds of millions of years ago, King said.

That’s because lungfish and other so-called lobe-finned fishes are believed to be close living relatives of the earliest known tetrapods—four-limbed animals with backbones.

“This study tells us that walking behaviors are not exclusive to tetrapods” in that period and suggests that the evolutionary route to land walking began with their finny forebears.

The findings further suggest that fossil tracks previously credited to early land tetrapods with feet—or at least toe like digits—may instead have been left by lobe-finned fishes moving along the waterbed.

Disproving Key Fossil Interpretation?

The new walking-fish discovery casts doubt, for example, on fossil “footprints” fromPoland, which in 2010 were attributed to a 395 million year old land creature…jeng said.

“Some of the patterns shown in these fossil track ways are similar to the patterns made by the limbs in the lungfish,” she said.

The lack of signs of a dragging tail in the Polish tracks can be explained by the fact that lungfish lift their bodies off the bottoms of rivers, lakes, and swamps while walking—possibly aided by air-filled lungs that give the fish their name, she observed.

“There were many fishes alive 397 to 391 million years ago that share important functional features with lungfish,” King said, “and it is possible that they were responsible for some of the fossil track ways that are now attributed to tetrapods.”

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Fish out of water?…not really…and it’s a good thing !.

 It is so great when we see how certain animals can help humans solve their problems when it comes to the environment. This story shows a classic example of how fish help save a river in Chicago. Our friends at the Associated press reported this recently and glad to see Tammy Webber was the reporter

CHICAGO— The city was in a predicament. By the late 1800s, the slow-moving Chicago River had become a cesspool of sewage and factory pollution oozing into Lake Michigan, the source of drinking water for the bustling metropolis.
The waterway had grown so putrid that it raised fears of a disease outbreak and concerns about hurting development.

So in a first-of-its-kind feat, engineers reversed the river by digging a series of canals that not only carried the stinking mess away from the lake, but also created the only shipping route between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River.

Now a modern threat — a voracious fish that biologists are desperate to keep out of Lake Michigan — has spurred serious talk of undertaking another engineering feat almost as bold as the original: reversing the river again to restore its flow into the lake.

The Army Corps of Engineers is studying ways to stop invasive species from moving between two of the nation’s largest watersheds, including a proposal to block the canals and undo the engineering marvel that helped define Chicago.

After the first reversal, the city at the edge of the prairie blossomed and today is known for stunning skyscrapers, a sparkling lakefront and a river dyed green every St. Patrick’s Day in the heart of Chicago’s downtown Loop.

The idea to reverse the river again got little traction when environmentalists suggested it a few years ago.

But that was before Asian carp swam to within 25 miles ofLake Michigan, where they are being held at bay with electric barriers that deliver a nonlethal jolt. And it was before a study that showed dozens of other species were poised to move between the basins.

Adding to the urgency is the discovery last month of more carp DNA, though no actual carp, in waterways just six miles from Chicago, which could indicate that some slipped through the barriers. One live carp was found past the barrier last summer, but officials weren’t sure how it got there.

The fish are rapacious eaters that can grow to 4 feet and 100 pounds, and they have been migrating up theMississippi and its tributaries for decades. Scientists say they could decimate theGreat Lakes’ $7 billion-a-year fishing industry and unravel the food web by starving out native species.

But carp are not the only threat. A corps report issued this summer identified eight other species that could enter the lakes.
What’s more, the agency concluded, the lake isn’t the only body of water in danger.

The risk to the Mississippi basin is even greater because the canals offer a potential highway for about 30 species to invade the river and its tributaries from the Great Lakes.

“That was one of those ‘Aha!’ moments,” said David Wethington, who’s managing the corps study.

“You hear a lot about Asian carp and the potential devastation (to the Great Lakes), but what if things go the other way?”

The idea of separating the two watersheds, which have no natural links, has gained support from powerful lawmakers, surrounding states and scientists who believe it’s the only way to avoid irreversible ecological and economic harm.

“If we don’t, a century from now, our children and grandchildren will have lakes full of invasive species … and we will be sacrificing two of the greatest freshwater ecosystems of the United States to invasion and lost economic opportunity,” said Joel Brammeier, president of the environmental advocacy group Alliance for the Great Lakes.

But the corps isn’t ready to say whether reversing the Chicago River again is the solution. Its recommendation may have to wait another four years.

To reverse the river, engineers would barricade the canals that have been used for more than a century to send the river flowing to the west. With those channels closed, the river would resume its previous course toward Lake Michigan because the river would again be higher than the lake.

And that might be the easiest part.

 Industries that use the waterways to move everything from grain and road salt to coal and chemicals oppose the idea. They complain they stand to lose billions a year if they have to rely on more expensive trains and trucks.

“I don’t want the Asian carp in the Great Lakes any more than anyone else does, but (separating the watersheds) destroys the economics of moving by barge,” said Mark Biel, executive director of the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois and chairman of Unlock Our Jobs, an industry coalition that opposes the idea.

Perhaps a bigger obstacle is Chicago’s sewer system, which collects rainfall in a big part of the metro area and then discharges it toward the Mississippi. Despite billions spent on an extensive underground tunnel network, the system still cannot contain enough storm water and sewage during heavy rainstorms, forcing authorities to open shipping locks and dump the runoff into Lake Michigan to spare basements.

Reversing the river would push even more water toward downtown and the lake, possibly requiring the city to spend billions more than planned on reservoirs and pipes to hold back the flow and prevent massive flooding.

Then there’s the matter of water quality. Even when it’s not raining, more than half the volume of the river is wastewater discharged from sewage treatment plants, and it’s not disinfected to kill harmful pathogens. Under pressure from the Environmental Protection Agency, the city has agreed to start killing germs, but it will take a while before the water is clean enough to send into the lake.

All those things will weigh on the corps’ recommendation, due by 2015.

Biel said industry supports the creation of a dead zone by injecting oxygen-eating microorganisms in a portion of the waterways so aquatic life could not survive long enough to move between basins. That would require a waiver from the Clean Water Act.

Another idea is building a two-way shipping lock that could move water toward or away from the lake, said Richard Sparks, a scientist at the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center in southern Illinois. He said a strong electric current within the lock chamber might be able to kill organisms or fish, including anything that might be clinging to the barges, before opening the gates in the other direction.

The corps will also study more effective electric barriers, chemicals and biological controls, Wethington said.

The Natural Resources Defense Council has suggested barricading the canals, but pumping water over them to keep water flowing away from Chicago while somehow first killing outgoing invasive species. No solution will be easy or cheap, and everyone agrees it could take many years to complete.

Still, there is growing sentiment that Chicago shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to tackle the problem of invasive species, sewer overflows and pollution at the same time.

The project could also address another issue: drinking water supplies. Unlike other cities that use Lake Michigan for drinking water, Chicago doesn’t return water to the lake, and there is a limit on how much it can use because of that. If the city were able to clean the water and put it back, that might help ensure enough water to handle future demand.

A coalition of U.S. and Canadian cities is conducting its own study of the problems. One of its leaders, David Ullrich of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, says the proposal to undo a century of civil engineering is essential for the next century and beyond.

“We believe now is the time to fundamentally redefine the relationship between the city, the Chicago River and the full waterway system,” he said.

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