Antidepressants and drugs penetrating waters, caused by human factors. The researchers studied how guppy fish react to the substance of fluoxetine. They found that the affected behavior of fish could endanger their populations.

Antidepressants in Rivers

Wastewater with human urine and excrement contains many substances that people use, including drugs, antidepressants, and antibiotics. In some cases, river pollution is 300 times higher than the recommended limit by experts. Purifiers do not target substances such as fluoxetine (Prozac), so they are discharged into rivers in significant amounts.

Image source: Flickr

Researchers at The University of Western Australia (UWA) in the School of Biological Sciences, led by Dr. Giovanni Polverio, studied the behavior and reactions of freshwater guppy fish to a substance called fluoxetine. This substance is contained in Prozac drug. Fluoxetine belongs to a group of SSRIs, substances that prevent the reuptake of the mediator serotonin in the brain.

Less Alert Fish

The team of scientists found out how the presence of Prozac is reflected on freshwater guppy fish. Fish in contact with antidepressants were less vigilant and could essentially be compared to zombies. Which is threatening in an environment where a quick response means staying alive. A further deterioration of the situation could lead to a threat to the population of some fish species and other aquatic animals.

By Amy E. Deacon, Hideyasu Shimadzu, Maria Dornelas, Indar W. Ramnarine & Anne E. Magurran – (2015). “From species to communities: the signature of recreational use on a tropical river ecosystem”. Ecology and Evolution 5 (23): 5561–5572. DOI:10.1002/ece3.1800., CC BY 4.0,

Biologists and environmentalists are being asked whether influenced fish can transfer the absorbed substances to other animals in the food chain. Swedish ecologist Tomas Brodin is working on this topic, as he is preparing an experiment to show whether and how river contamination affects the behavior in the food chain between pike, perch, and roach.,, featured image: