Giant 100-pound sunfish typically living in the tropics found dead on a beach in Oregon Oregon

A giant 100-pound “sunfish” was found dead on a beach in Seaside, Oregon last week, which experts say could shed light on the magnitude of climate change.

The sunfish, also known as the opah, was three and a half feet long and is usually found in tropical and temperate waters, but as the oceans warm from climate change, marine life moves north to escape cooler waters.

These fish can grow up to six feet in length, but Heidi Dewar, a research biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, told the Washington Post: “I wouldn’t expect such a big opah to come from Oregon normally.”

In addition to providing insight into climate change, conservationists hope to use the fish to learn about opah’s basic biology and ecology, which is still a mystery to the scientific community due to a lack of research.

Dewar told the Washington Post that the fish will be frozen and dissected by students to reveal its secrets.

A giant 100-pound opah fish was found dead on a beach in Seaside, Oregon last week, which experts say may shed light on the magnitude of climate change

She also explained that the contents of the stomach can help determine diet and reveal tissue where the fish lived.

The opah was reported to the Seaside Aquarium on Wednesday, July 14.

The stunning electric blue and orange creature lay on the beach with one fin in the air and its beady eye staring at its back.

The Seaside Aquarium shared the announcement in a facebook post, who notes that it is very rare to see such a large opah so far north, as they are restricted to temperate waters in the southern hemisphere.

The opah, or sunfish, was three and a half feet long and is usually found in tropical and temperate waters, but as the oceans warm, marine life moves north to escape cooler waters.

The opah, or sunfish, was three and a half feet long and is usually found in tropical and temperate waters, but as the oceans warm, marine life moves north to escape cooler waters.

In addition to providing insight into climate change, conservationists hope to use the fish to learn about opah's basic biology and ecology, which is a mystery to the scientific community.

In addition to providing insight into climate change, conservationists hope to use the fish to learn about opah’s basic biology and ecology, which is a mystery to the scientific community.

However, the fish has been found in Oregon before — in 2009, a 97-pound opah was caught 60 miles from the Columbia River Mouth.

This month’s discovery of a dead opah coincides with a study released in April 2021 that found that warming oceans have forced tens of thousands of marine species to abandon their tropical homes along the equator and move to cooler waters.

Researchers, led by the University of Auckland, found a mass exodus of nearly 50,000 species, including fish, mollusks, birds and corals that have moved to the poles since 1955, according to the study published in the journal PNAS.

Scientists say species that can move are moving to escape warming surface temperatures that currently average 68F (20C).

The opah was reported to the Seaside Aquarium on Wednesday.  The stunning electric blue and orange creature lay on the beach with one fin in the air and its beady eye staring at its back

The opah was reported to the Seaside Aquarium on Wednesday. The stunning electric blue and orange creature lay on the beach with one fin in the air and its beady eye staring at its back

The Seaside Aquarium shared the announcement in a Facebook post, noting that it is very rare to see such a large opah so far north.

The Seaside Aquarium shared the announcement in a Facebook post, noting that it is very rare to see such a large opah so far north.

The findings show that rising temperatures are making tropical areas unbearable for native species, but these creatures are moving into subtropical waters, or even the poles, which are also warming.

Senior author Mark Costello, a professor of marine biology at the University of Auckland, told AFP: “Global warming has been changing life in the ocean for at least 60 years.”

Our findings show a decline of about 1,500 species at the equator.

“This will continue throughout the century, but the pace will depend on how we reduce greenhouse gas emissions — or not.”

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