We completed our first round(visiting each of our trawl sites) of broad-scale sampling on May 3, 2015. Things went as smoothly as we could have possibly asked for, thanks in part to the relatively quiet weather for the round. Spring on the coast, much like elsewhere in the U.S., can be plagued by energetic frontal storm systems. Sampling in high wind, high surf, pouring rain and lightening is at the least difficult, and obviously dangerous. In 2014 we had nearly
Bigclaw Snapping Shrimp (Alpheus heterochaelis) Collected in April 2015 in the Upper Reach of Sapelo River, GA AKA “Pistol Shrimp” Otherwise known as one of the neatest critters in the estuaries you probably didn’t know was there. The common name, pistol shrimp, comes from the way these shrimp use their enlarged claw (which can be either on the left or the right). The shrimp cocks its claw like a pistol when it sees its prey, aims, and ‘fires’ by
We’re back!! After a hiatus that included yours truly qualifying for candidacy in March, we are back in action. This season we have two new field crew members, Will and Katie. Matt, our 2014 technician, moved on to new and exciting adventures in California and Utah after the field season ended. We wish him the best and are enjoying seeing the fish he’s collecting in the Colorado River. We’ve already had about 5 days of sampling under our belts, and
Eastern Oyster Scientific Name: Crassotrea virginica Rachel’s Name: The Trawl Chewer Oysters are really important to the estuarine ecosystem. Really important. They provide structure, habitat, and ‘scrub’ the waters through filter feeding of harmful pathogens. They were nearly wiped out in Georgia at the turn of the century because of a thriving canning industry. It wasn’t that we ate them to death, but we used the shells in construction on land rather than returning them to the water. Young
August was…well, a month that came and went without a post. I will give a quick update to all the goings on since July. From roughly August 1 – August 21 I was busy with the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting preparation and attendance. This year it was in Quebec City, Quebec from August 16 – August 22. I spent the first two weeks of August preparing my data and creating the poster I would present. My analysis consisted of
Matt and I just finished a 7 day (5 days of sampling) stint on Sapelo Island at the National Estuarine Research Reserve. This is a break from our trawling efforts to try and define how much our catch might change within a small area of sampling between small areas and over days – otherwise known as in site variability. I chose two feeder creek systems that drain into a larger channel, Dean Creek, on the south side of the island.
Location: Mackay River, St. Simons Sound. Found primarily on the Western Atlantic coast from Massachusetts, USA to Brazil, they prefer shallow coastal waters of both marine and brackish salinity. Juveniles stay in very shallow water, swimming at an angle to mimic dead leaves to avoid predators. Adults reach up to 91 cm. While they are not often commercially harvested, some game fishermen enjoy their meat. The extent of harvest and status of their population is currently unknown.
The ‘loaner’ trailer came just on time. We got it in working order on Tuesday, and Dr. Nibbelink came for a field visit on Wednesday. It felt good to be back at work again! On Tuesday, we sampled on the South Altamaha River, part of the Altamaha River Sound System. Some call the Altamaha the “Amazon of the South,” and it is really something else. It the third largest source of fresh water into the Atlantic Ocean from North America.
There are a lot of people I should be thanking for helping me along the way. But today, it’s DNR Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve Research Coordinator (that’s a mouthful), Dorset Hurley. Long story short, by mere chance Dorset called yesterday to make arrangements for the Island research that I will be doing in a couple of weeks. I told him of my trailer woes. He generously responded by telling me there were empty trailers that weren’t in
Location: Turtle River, St. Simons Sound. We are excited to see these show up in our trawl. Adults grow to 63 cm. These are a member of the drums and croaker (Sciaenidae) family of fish and not actually related to trout as some freshwater fishermen may know. It is one of the more abundant game species in the estuaries, and a popular target for fishermen. It lives its entire life cycle within the estuaries, rarely venturing out of the sounds