Sunday, April 29, 2018

End of Algae, Start of Fishes

This week on BI 450, we are finishing up the last two days of the algae section, and starting the marine fishes section. Our Monday started off with all of the treasure taxa presentations on algae, many different alga species were represented in a power point, including information on that alga and the studies that were conducted.  To debrief last week students went to Boiler Bay to conduct a short study on certain alga species, studies were diverse and very interesting (although a lot of the results were inconclusive).  After that we all gathered in the lab and set up our group's stations for algae identification cards.  Groups presented their beautiful algae pressings along with some useful information, along with many yummy snacks.  After that was grind time for studying, as the lecture and lab exam was the next day.  After exams were over we moved onto the marine fishes section with Dr. Su Sponaugle

Atherino affinis (botom) and Oncorhynchus kisutch (top)
On our first day we went through some introductory lectures and learned about the different families of fishes and their anatomy. We got to know Su and prepared for our field trip the next day. We went the Yaquina Bay and used a beach seine, we geared up with our waders and got in the water.  We pulled this net through the water and caught many juvenile fish on the estuary floor.  The first few catches we had mass amounts of Leptocottus armatus or the staghorn sculpin, after a while we got a lot of  Parophyrus vetulus or the english sole, a few salmonoids, and some other cool diversity species. Pictured below are two fishy friends in the lab, the topsmelt (Atherino affinis) and what we think is a coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch).  The species were counted for abundance and some were measured.  It was a lot of fun wading through the cold water and frantically grabbing fish with our hands and throwing them into buckets. We read up and discussed about juvenile English sole, which is a flatfish found in Yaquina bay.  As adults they live in the sea, and broadcast spawn in the ocean but the juveniles and larvae travel inland to grow in estuaries.  Through the two studies we've read about they prefer the sedimentation and cold temperatures. A larval sole has not yet fully developed, but a juvenile is just a small adult.  We caught many juveniles in Yaquina Bay from seining, one of the English sole's from the lab are shown below.  Next week we are going out on a boat to trawl the waters and count the abundances of English sole in different areas of the bay.  Everyone is conducting this study and we will go out on two boating trips to gather data.
Parophyrus vetulus

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