The Candy-Fish Sustainability Experiment

Candy fish gain an additional and/or alternative kind of value in this study:

pauliEcological and evolutionary effects of harvesting: lessons from the candy-fish experiment.” Beatriz Diaz Pauli [pictured here] and Mikko Heino, ICES Journal of Marine Science, vol. 70, no. 7, 2013, pp. 1281-1286. (Thanks to investigator Martin Aker for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the University of Bergen, Norway, report:

“We propose candy-fish experiments as a savoury approach to teaching and disseminating the key principles of applied ecology and evolution to students, practitioners and the general public. We performed a simple experiment where the resource was represented by fish-shaped candy of distinct colours and flavours (strawberry and liquorice). Typically, harvesting was neither ecologically sustainable (55% of the populations were extinct by the end of the experiment) nor evolutionarily sustainable (most surviving populations had liquorice fish only). This harvest-induced evolution went apparently unnoticed. Somewhat encouragingly, the harvest was most likely ecologically sustainable when a person spontaneously took the role of a stock manager.”