DEEPEND Blog

Researcher blog

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Team Blogs
    Team Blogs Find your favorite team blogs here.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Posted by on in News

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_6240.JPG
Left to right: back: Jessica, Alex, Michelle, Cori, Travis, Jillian, and Nina; front: Jason and Rich

HAPPY 4th of JULY!

Scientists still get to celebrate while we’re out at sea! Check out our tattoos! :)

Last modified on

Posted by on in News

Hi all,

Today is our last day of sampling. We started bright and early again at 6am. It rained a bit, but it was accompanied by a full rainbow arching over the boat. Nice way to start off the morning!

You guys are probably wondering how we collect all of the larval fish I showed you on the last blog post. Well, we deploy a bongo net off the back of the boat and a neuston net off the side. Both nets are brought on board and the samples are washed down into the codends. The contents of the codends are rinsed/poured and put into our sample jars. The samples are brought into the wet lab for a closer look and a potential photo. Some of the larger specimens (e.g., tunas, swordfish) are frozen for genetic analyses.

I set up a GoPro around the boat to show you guys how we sample at each station. Let’s take a look of some of our scientists at work:

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_6175_20170704-152755_1.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_GOPR8431.JPG
Bongo nets and the sunset last night.                        Neuston net.

b2ap3_thumbnail_GOPR8724.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_GOPR5905.JPG
Rich is collecting water for the YSI and for the food web study.                 Nina is reading the water's temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_G0188730.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_G0168692.JPG
Rich, Nina, Jillian, and Jason are retrieving the bongo nets.  
                     Everyone's rinsing down the nets, while Michelle is recording the
                                                                                                          flowmeter data.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_GOPR8843.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_G0198786_20170704-182507_1.JPG
Jillian is pouring her plankton sample out of the codend.                           Jason and Nina are rinsing the bongo nets.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_G0057534.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_GOPR8573.JPG
Nina and Jessica are putting the sample into the jar.                                Jessica is looking at a larval tuna under the microscope/taking a picture.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_GOPR8844.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_GOPR5896.JPG
Alex and Cori just retrieved the neuston net.                                           Jillian, Alex, Cori, and Travis are sorting the neuston net sample.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_GOPR8841.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_GOPR8582.JPG
Jason and Travis sorting through Sargassum.                                          Jason and Alex looking at our catch!

b2ap3_thumbnail_Picture3.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_Picture1.jpg
Dr. Michelle Sluis is the PI on the cruise. She is recording the data for each tow (e.g., start time, location, etc.) in the pictures above.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures!
-Nina

Last modified on

Posted by on in News

Hi guys!

Last night we cruised towards our southern transect. We arrived at our first station and began sampling at sunrise (6am). We've hit 10 stations so far today! We collected many of our targeted species and more!

On the boat, we use a camera attached to our microscope to help us take pictures of the tiny fish. Here's some of our catch:

 

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_mahi.jpg

Dolphinfish larva.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_swordfish_20170703-201349_1.jpg

Swordfish larva.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_billfish_20170703-201409_1.jpg

Billfish larva.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_tuna2.jpg

Tuna larva.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IC800230_20160610-034611_1.JPG

Frogfish larva.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_siphonophore.jpg

Alex found a siphonophore.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_boatTAMUG.jpg

Cori, Travis and Jillian on deck and ready for the next tow! 

All smiles here!

-Nina

Last modified on

Posted by on in News

Hello everyone,

My name is Nina Pruzinsky. I’m out in the northern Gulf of Mexico with Texas A&M sampling for fish larvae on the R/V Pelican. We’ll be out here from July 1-5th. The scientists onboard include: Dr. Michelle Sluis (TAMUG), Jessica Lee (TAMUG), Travis Richards (TAMUG), Cori Meinert (TAMUG), Jillian Gilmartin (TAMUG), Alex Southernland (TAMUG), Jason Mostowy (TAMUG), Richard Jones (FAU) and Nina Pruzinsky (NSU).

We left the port at LUMCON at midnight on June 30th and traveled to the first station (Station 48) during the night. We started our sampling around 10am yesterday. We finished nine stations during the day and did two night tows. During the day we are using a neuston net and bongo nets to sample for larval fish. The neuston net tows for 10 minutes at the surface and the bongo nets sample to about 100 m depth. At night, we only tow the neuston net. This way, we can compare the differences between day and night tows at the same station. Additionally, Alex is sampling for gelatinous zooplankton (jellyfish) for genetic analyses, Jillian is Gtowing another plankton net to look at the community structure of zooplankton, and Travis is collecting water samples in order to characterize the food web in the Gulf.

Yesterday we caught tunas, billfish, dolphinfish, flyingfish, eel larvae, remora, frogfish, triggerfish, pufferfish, rough scad, lanternfish (at night) and more! Check out the pictures below! As you can see, all of our fish are extremely small!

Today we started sampling at sunrise around 6am and have completed three stations. We already caught some tuna and dolphinfish larvae!

Stay tuned for more pictures and updates on the cruise!

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_5946.JPG

R/V Pelican before depature. 

 b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_6025.JPG

Larval dolphinfish (mahi-mahi).

b2ap3_thumbnail_tuna.jpg

Tuna larvae.

 b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_5993.JPG

Triggerfish larvae.

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_5971.JPG

Michelle and Cori preparing the neuston net.

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_5974.JPG

Jillian setting up the plankton net along with the bongo nets.

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_6013.JPG b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_6015a.JPG

We also were able to dip net a juvenile tuna last night for my thesis!

 

Cheers!
Nina

 

Last modified on

Another day at sea – one of our last for this cruise.

My name is Laura Timm and I am a PhD student at Florida International University. This is my fourth DEEPEND cruise and the data we collect from it will contribute to the last chapter of my dissertation.

I work on crustacean genetics. Specifically, I use the DNA of a few shrimp species to describe diversity and characterize how (or if) it is moving within the Gulf. These two things, diversity and gene flow, provide a lot of insight into the health and resilience of these target species. Most of my work with DEEPEND has focused on three shrimp: Acanthephyra purpurea is a bright red color and produces a bioluminescent spew to scare off predators.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Apurp.jpg

 

Systellaspis debilis is also red (though younger ones can look orange), but with tiny light-producing organs called photophores polka-dotting its body.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled.jpg

 

Sergia robusta can be dark red or even purple and has photophores around its mouth and tail.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Srobpic.jpg

To me, all three are uniquely beautiful.

My research focuses on questions related to genetic diversity, which is a good metric for species health. Where is the most diversity found? Has this changed since 2011? How is diversity distributed? Is some genetic diversity unique to certain places? Answers to these questions provide unprecedented insight into how the Gulf copes with disturbances.

Now, a little perspective.

We trawl with a MOC10 net. It is very large. Every person on the ship could go stand in the frame of the net. However, when compared to the size of the ocean, it is tiny – it has been described as the equivalent of investigating terrestrial diversity using just a butterfly net. Yet, we still catch thousands of shrimp. Of these thousands of shrimp, a few hundred are targeted (A. purpurea, S. debilis, S. robusta). Of these hundreds, 96 are sequenced (this is due to the sequencing process; I can only sequence 96 at a time). The genomes of these species have not been sequenced, so I target a few thousand base pairs of DNA. A few thousand base pairs out of billions of base pairs. About 100 shrimp out of hundreds, hundreds out of thousands, thousands out of every shrimp in the Gulf. This tiny amount of data (which, in the history of science, is unprecedentedly large) can tell us so much about the animals living in the Gulf and how they came to be there and whether they are likely to survive whatever comes next.

Last modified on
Tagged in: DP05 shrimp