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Otolith Ikan: Kotak Hitam Perubahan Iklim-Lingkungan

Jejak kehidupan—tumbuh, reproduksi, berburu, dan lain-lain—seekor ikan terekam dalam otolith (earstone) pada bagian dalam telinga. Otolith ikan menentukan kecepatan berenang dan turun-naik dalam air, membantu pendengaran, memantau kebugaran alamiah (natural fitness), dan menyingkap seluruh aktivitas seekor ikan (Communications Biology, 2019). 

Begitu hasil riset Dr. Clive Trueman dari University of Southampton, Prof. Peter Grønkjaer  dan Dr. Ming-Tsung Ching dari Aarhus University di Denmark, dan koleganya dari Norwegia yang dirilis oleh Communications Biology edisi 2019 (Ming-Tsung Chung, Clive N. Trueman, Jane Aanestad Godiksen, Mathias Engell Holmstrup, Peter Grønkjær, “Field metabolic rates of teleost fishes are recorded in otolith carbonate,” Communications Biology, 2019).

“Now we have the tools to measure and understand how fish are being affected by and adapting to changes in the environment, and how much the fish must eat to gain enough energy to swim, grow and reproduce. This new tool will help us improve our predictions of what happens to the fish including commercially important fish like cod when the environment changes,” ungkap Dr. Ming-Tsung Ching, co-author karya ilmiah itu (University of Southampton, 18/1/2019).

Rata-rata metabolisme ikan dapat diketahui dari  earstone, misalnya bagaimana ikan beradaptasi terhadap perubahan lingkungan dan iklim hingga 100 tahun terakhir. Dengan mengukur isotop karbon pada earstone seekor ikan, peneliti itu mengetahui adaptasi metabolismenya terhadap makanan, suhu, dan lingkungan (Science Daily, 18/1/2019).

“We have already started looking into the metabolic rates of cod living in the cold, but warming waters, around Greenland. We have otoliths from fish in that region dating back to 1926 which will help us understand the impact of climate on the well-being of these fish.Otoliths are like the black box of fish, they contain an enormous library of information written in a language that we are now starting to decipher,” ungkap Dr. Clive Trueman, co-author karya ilmiah itu (University of Southampton, 18/1/2019). 

Oleh: Servas Pandur