By Wyatt Fournier, NOAA Fisheries, on the Northwestern Explorer
Jamal and I had hypothesized that occupying stations farther offshore would increase our focal fish catch, and the last few days have strongly supported that hypothesis! From 40 miles out, we consistently encounter larval arrowtooth flounder (ATF), larval rockfish, and young of the year (YOY) pollock. This is a huge success for the GOAIERP project, especially considering our low catches in 2011 when we were sampling within 30 miles from the coast in the Southeast region. Each one of these little fish is tagged with a Sample Identification Number (SIN) and individually bagged to be stored in a -40o C freezer on the ship. Once we reach the TSMRI facility in Juneau, the fish will be transferred to a -80o C freezer until it is time to process them in Ron Heintz’s Nutritional Ecology Lab. Stomachs will be emptied for complete diet analysis, including identifying zooplankton prey to species. Total energetic content of each fish will be determined by bomb calorimetry. To further investigate how energy is allocated during the larval and juvenile life stages, fish will be analyzed in the chemistry lab for protein and lipid (fat) content. One type of lipid that Ron and I find intriguing is Triacylglycerols, a highly concentrated store of metabolic energy that may influence the survival of our focal fish during their first year of life.
|Bag and Tag Larval|