Zostera marina is a seagrass species, commonly known as eelgrass, that is found on both coasts of the United States, as well as in Europe. Unfortunately, Zostera is disappearing all over the place, including right here in New York. This could have devastating impacts on animals that rely on eelgrass as foraging grounds, or, as is the case with scallops, use it as a refuge from predation. This is its story, as seen through the eyes of an aspiring graduate student...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I need fish!!!!!!!!

Seriously, I need them... I have scallops, I have mesocosms, I have artificial seagrass, I have mud crabs. Check that, I don't have mud crabs. I need fish and mud crabs! Wow, who thought getting these things would be so difficult... Went out trawling today with a group of elementary school children on the RV Peconic out of the Southampton Marine Station... We caught some interesting fish, and we caught crabs, just not the ones I am looking for. Oh science, why must you be so difficult sometimes!

Ok, on a more serious note, I am sort of freaking out here. I just got scallops on Monday. They are already around 10-11 mm, and soon they will be too big (assume ~2mm growth per week at this time of year, maybe less in a flow through system). So I want to use them ASAP. In addition, Cochlodinium is blooming again in Shinnecock Bay. If it gets into our seawater system, my baby scallops are toast. Seriously, its bad. Read about it here, or here, or here if you don't want to take my word for it. So theres two reasons why I need to get started quickly, and yet, it seems unlikely that I will have either mud crabs (probably the most abundant crab out there, you would think I can get those easily) or fish to start my tri-trophic interaction experiments. Ideally, I would like to have tautog, scup and toadfish (which have received varying levels of fishing pressure, and each of which will likely have a differing impact on scallops and mud crabs). Ah well. Here's to keeping fingers crossed!

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