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Video: Biologist Is Alarmed by Calm Shrimp

"Human Antidepressants Making Shrimp Too Calm," reads the headline of an AP video story reproduced in USA Today and elsewhere, reporting on the research of biologist Alex Ford at the University of Portsmouth. As everyone knows, the last thing you want is an excessively mellow shrimp.

Dr. Ford is concerned about results of experiments he performed exposing shrimp and snails to small amounts of antidepressants in their tanks, mimicking possible exposure in the wilds from traces of pharmaceuticals remaining after the disposal of human waste. It's all written up in the journal Aquatic Toxicology.

He found that the snails displayed an alarming tendency to drop off the glass walls they were climbing -- they evidently figured, "What's the point, anyway?" -- while the shrimp were not made anxious by exposure to bright light and swam toward the light rather than away from it. In the wild, this could put them in danger from predators. You have to wonder, though, how serious the peril would be if the predators themselves were rendered equally serene for the identical reason. Wouldn't they kind of balance each other out?

Watch the video. No, this is real, it's not from The Onion.

Whoa, some scientists appear to have way too much free time their hands! If Dr. Ford is free this afternoon, I have some dry cleaning he could drop off for me.