A Mud-Loving, Iron-Lunged, Jelly-Eating Ecosystem Savior
Meet the bearded goby, a six-inch-long fish that lives in toxic mud, eats jellyfish, lasts for hours without oxygen, and has saved a coastal African ecosystem from a nightmare fate.
Over the last several decades, as other fish populations off the coast of the Namibia collapsed, jellyfish and bacteria populations exploded — a condition widely considered to be ecological an dead end, incapable of supporting rich webs of life.
But amidst this turmoil, the goby has thrived. It circulates nutrients that would otherwise be lost, feeds animals who lost their historic prey, and provides that rare thing: a happy, or at least not-so-bad, ending to an environmental disaster story.
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