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As Earth Warms, Pupfish Are In Danger With No Place To Go

For 10,000 years, a tiny iridescent blue fish has lived in the depths of a cavern in Nevada's desert. But a new study says climate change and warming waters - and the species lack of mobility - are threatening the pupfish and decreasing its numbers.

Scientists studying climate change anticipate that as Earth continues to warm, fish and wildlife will migrate away from the equator or seek higher ground for a cooler habitat.

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"The catch phrase is 'Migrate, Adapt or Die,"' said Mark Hausner, a hydrologist at the Desert Research Institute in Las Vegas.

But what about creatures like the endangered pupfish that exist in only one place and simply cannot pack up their bags and move? The inch-long fish lives in a 426-foot-deep, water-filled cavern in the Mojave Desert on the edge of Death Valley National Park.

Video: NATURE | Life in Death Valley | Devil's Hole Pupfish | PBS

In the 1970s, there were more than 500 pupfish, but today, there are only 92, according to the National Park Service. The slowly rising temperature of the geothermal water - as high as 97 degrees at times - is near the limit of what the pupfish can  withstand on the shallow shelf where it breeds just below the surface.
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