After the recent cold snap, even fish have been caught dead in the water.
UF graduate student Sushmit Shreyans noticed more than 20 fish floating near the surface of Lake Alice when he biked past it on Saturday.
When he jogged by the lake Sunday night, he noticed a foul odor coming from the water.
“I could smell it, and it was smelling really bad,” Shreyans said.
George Burgess, director for the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History, has not seen the fish.
However, he suspects most of them are probably non-native blue tilapia affected by the cold snap earlier this month.
He cited the blue tilapia’s intolerance for cold temperatures as the reason they probably became ill and died.
Among the cold snaps Burgess has experienced during his time in Gainesville, he said this year’s was the worst.
Burgess said stress can lead to illness in fish just as it does in humans.
“When they are stressed, they become susceptible to infections and diseases,” he said.
However, Burgess said the ecosystem won’t mourn these deaths too much.
“They are an introduced species,” Burgess said. “They are pests.”