Sunday, May 5, 2019

Week 5: Fish, Fishes, and More Fish

Monday: We had lovely weather for our beam trawls out in the Yaquina Bay estuary. We went in three groups out on the R/V Elakha, which we learned means otter. We had a guest scientists, Dr. Lorenzo Cannelli, teach us to use beam trawls and deploy CTDs to take salinity, temperature, oxygen, and depth measurements. Our trawls were focused on catching, measuring, and counting juvenile English sole (Parophrys vetulus). We also found some gunnels, a showy snailfish, and tons of shrimp and juvenile crabs! We sampled upstream and downstream in the bay to see if there was a difference in density, mean size, and size range. The final cruise found the largest English sole of the day at 15.6 cm. After returning from the trawls and a lunch break we went to class and had a lecture on early life history and recruitment of fishes. Then we did our data analysis on the trawl data we gathered that morning.  
Kendal deploying the CTD with Dr. Lorenzo Ciannelli's guidance. 
Students measuring and counting English sole.
Tuesday: We spent the morning in lectures on age and growth; swimming, schooling and migration; and scientific writing to begin preparing for the trawl reports. After lunch, we got a chance to go out into the field again before the long night of writing ahead. We went to Tokatee Klootchman State Park and hunted fish among the tidepool. At the end of our hour of searching and catching fish, we held the award for the biggest, smallest, most unique, most colorful, and best Cabezon caught. We also had one of the highest catches from the tidepools in BI 450 history. Good Job Everyone! After returning from the field, when we were identifying the fish, we found that we had caught a ringtail snailfish (Liparis rutteri). What is interesting about finding the ringtail in Tokatee Klootchman was that in our guide books, they said that the most southern places it has been reported was southern Alaska. Which is cool for us, seeing it so far south in Oregon, meaning that they may be possible migrating down to more southern waters, and we may be seeing more of them. Another cool find was a silver Cabazon (Scorpaenichthys marmoratus), the silver color is due to the Cabazon just migrating from the open ocean to tidepools. It was a late night (and early morning for some) writing to prepare our trawl reports for peer revision Wednesday.
Searching for tidepool fish at Tokatee Klootchman State Park.

A collection of sculpins we found at Tokatee.
Wednesday: We began the day with lecture on the different way fish feed and food webs in the ocean. Then we had a break for donuts and coffee in the staff lounge. After that, we got a temporary break from fish and had a guest lecture about plankton ecology from Dr. Moritz Schmid. We learned about various tehnologies for collecting zooplankton; including the coupled multiple opening/closing net and environmental sensing system (MOCNESS) that Su helped design and how artificial intelligence is being used to conduct image analysis to obtain higher resolutions for plankton counts. After a break for lunch, we brought our trawl reports in and peer reviewed each others papers, providing edits and feedback to improve our final papers. We ended the day by learning how to prepare and deploy light traps out to catch zooplankton, which we deployed off the pumphouse docks in Yaquina Bay. Finally, we went home and made final adjustments and edits to our trawl reports based on our peers’ feedback and prepared for a busy Thursday.

Students after deploying the light traps. Students after retrieving the light traps.
Thursday: We retrieved our light traps first thing in the morning to see what caught. Before we got to identify the zooplankton and juvenile fish from the traps we had to turn in the trawl reports and we had our final lecture for the term! We learned about population ecology and fish conservation, a precursor to our Marine Policy section in a few weeks. Then we got to identify and enumerate the juvenile fishes and zooplankton our light traps caught. We learned to use a sieve to separate and count the large organisms(over 3.3 mm) and a stempel pipette to take 5 mL subsamples to count the small organisms(under 3.3 mm). After lunch, we split into groups and got to print fish with the help of guest artist Bruce Koike. It was a nice break and a creative outlet. With the trawl report turned in and the last lecture over, our attention turned to studying for Friday’s final and the end of the section.
The class showing off our fish prints!
Friday: Another week, another final. After a busy week full of fishes, papers, and field work we spent the morning studying and finishing notebooks to prepare for the end of the fishes section. In the afternoon we took our final, cleaned the lab, released our fishes back into the estuary and turned in our field and lab notebooks. We then headed for a relaxing weekend in between our next course, Community Ecology starting Monday.

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