FISH! Well week three is here and gone now and we learned more then we ever wanted to know about FISH!, including how to fillet, fry, and eat them. We started off the week with some great lectures and some disappointing news about not having the proper vertebrate permits in order to collect FISH! Local Ocean, a local seafood shop and cafe graciously donated some blue and black rock fish (Sebastes mystinus and S. melanops) and English sole (Parophrys vetulus) for us to dissect. We learned how to remove the otoliths from just below the brain and saved them for a later lab. That night Itchung Cheung brought us a wonderful spread of pizza, soda, salad and ice cream sandwiches for desert! We got to meet the director of HMSC, George Boehlert, who reveled us with tales of his travels.
Tuesday we did some catch and release beach seining right out front of the visitors center. We caught a few juvenile English sole, various sculpin (Family: Cottidae), Eulachon (Thalichthys pacificus), pipefish (Syngnathus leptorhynchus), Juvenile Chum Salmon (Oncorhynchus keta). In the afternoon we examined the otoliths we had removed Monday.
Wednesday a brave few ventured down to Seal Rock to return the inverts from the previous week and collect rare delicious scones. After that the day was sprinkled with interesting lectures about FISH! habitat and ontogenetic shifts. That evening a different set of brave few ventured out to Boiler Bay to examine tide pool FISH! on their own, they were mostly disappointed in their find of nothing but various sculpin, but they did find a cool cave...
Thursday morning we had a very interesting lecture on Dr. Heppel's research on the Nassau Grouper (Epinephelus striatus). His research involved some interesting stuff on their aggregation spawning. They used satellite tags to track currents from the aggregation spot to figure out what happens to the eggs and larvae after fertilization. It turns out the FISH! know exactly which day to spawn after the full moon so that the planktonic larvae head south in a curly cue pattern and then loop back around to return to Little Cayman Island. That afternoon we visited the Oregon Coast Aquarium and took a look at numerous FISH!. Our assignment was to find our randomly assigned FISH! by picture alone and write down a few things about it in our notebook.
Friday was the day we were all waiting for! Behold the Elakha, Oregon State University's 54 foot coastal research vessel. We were randomly assigned (like a good lab experiment should be) to two groups. We did a single bottom trawl and only brought up a few FISH! and numerous shrimp. We caught and released a few Shiner Perch (Cymatogaster aggregata), and a couple of American Shad (Alosa sapidissima).
(Group 1 returning on left, and group 2 waiting on the dock below. Both pictures were taken at the exact same time almost causing a rift in the space time continuum.)
That evening our gracious instructor, Dr. Scott Heppel, gave us 4 Black Rockfish he had caught and we fried them up along with some other great food.