Organisms living in the Diamond Alkali Superfund Site in New Jersey have absorbed many toxic chemicals from the waste produced by the manufacture of DDT and Agent Orange that has been dumped into the Passaic River in Newark, New Jersey.
The Diamond Alkali Superfund Site in Newark, New Jersey
Many of these organisms have managed to adapt to their environments, and according to a study published in Science Magazine, the Atlantic killifish is a prime example of evolution in action. In the 1990s, scientists had first become aware that the killifish was able to survive in highly polluted waters. The new study revealed that over just a few decades several independent populations of killifish in highly polluted waters had evolved similar genetic adaptations that allowed them to survive.
This is significant because the killifish are a useful example of how animals respond to rapidly changing and extreme conditions in their environments. The scientists found that one genetic pathway was the source for the pollution tolerance, but that each population had developed slightly different patterns of change, allowing the killifish embryos to survive toxic chemicals that other fish embryos could not.