Watch: What people mean to water mean to fish

CFAES scientist Suzanne Gray explains her research connecting water quality, aquatic diversity and human activities in the video above. It’s her lightning-round talk (6:36) from CFAES’s Annual Research Conference. How do fish — from bluegills in the Scioto River, to walleyes in western Lake Erie, to cichlids in the Nile River basin — respond to rapid changes in their water caused by people?

‘Massive shifts in aquatic communities’

“Human impacts in the past century,” Gray says in the video, “have led to massive shifts in aquatic communities and loss of biodiversity on a really big scale.” More than a third of Earth’s freshwater fish species, she notes, are threatened with extinction.

Water quality’s connections

Gray and her lab staff are working to understand how fish respond to changes in water quality; to show how protecting and improving water quality is good for both fish and people; and to teach children from disparate places, rural Ohio and rural Uganda, how water quality connects them.

Fun fact from her research on Columbus’s urban rivers: Fish living in clear water there are “bigger, brighter, more colorful and have larger testes.”

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