Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Something Fishy Has Begun

The first day of marine fishes has begun in the BI 450 class, a new teacher and TA have arrived for the class. After a quick introduction from the teacher and TA, we got started with a quick fishes’ lecture and prepared for our first field trip in this section. Tokatee Klootchman State Park was where we were going, and why you may as? For the collection of tide pool fishes of course. Cloudy weather was the greeting card to the students as they pulled up and after an adventurous quest for these monsters a total of two different families were found. A quick group picture, and then we were off to the lab. Students then found out how we were caring for these animals as we studied them and got a crash course in how to use a dichotomous key.
Class awaiting the return of the seine.
The second day students went out, after a good mornings lecture on fish habitats, to see what the seine dragged in as they got more than their toes we in the brisk bay water of Yaquina Bay. This large net needed two students to get in and to drag it along the bottom of the muddy bay, one needed to live on the edge as he or she had to get in a lot deeper than the other. Few dared, or were wearing the proper gear, to go this deep and to face the sea monsters that lay below but all were ready to help count, sort and record all the different fishes that got caught in the net. The cloudy weather held until the students returned with their catch of ambassadors from the fishy kingdom, one of each species, and after a second lecture it poured as the students sat warmly in their lab looking at what they had brought in and once again the students had lucked out with fantastic Oregon coast weather. The rain didn’t stop as the students had their third lecture for the day and they all had to return back to their houses to prepare for the next day ahead of them.

Corin admiring the lingcod above him.
              A more exciting day came upon the students as they had their first guest lecture from Bob Cowen about kelp and reef habitats for fishes, then a quick doughnut break and back for one more lecture on fish growth. The sun started to shine as the BI 450 students emerged from their quick lunch break and went off onto their next field trip. The Oregon Coast Aquarium was their destination, and for some of the students this was their first time to experience the excitement of this unique location. Corin, an international student from the UK, had a particularly enjoyable time as he looked on at the fishes swimming around the tunnels in the aquarium. He greatly enjoyed the diversity of the aquarium even though their lack of his favorite animal, sponges, had him slightly disappointed. The students were all allowed to play and roam around the aquarium as they pleased as long as they all picked two species to draw. Free fudge was eaten, fishes were drawn and merry times were upon all in the class but a black cloud loomed ahead as their next trip may not be as care free. They all met up after the aquarium to discuss some paper they had to read but more importantly they had to prepare for the trawling trip the following day. Three hypothesis were formed and gear was prepared for the trip. Foul weather was ahead; bay conditions were not looking good as the students went home to enjoy a calm before the storm.  

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