Field work

[Outreach] A busy year in Mumford Cove

On 13 April, Hannes was invited to the board meeting of the Mumford Cove Association to present a brief update about our groups research activities in and around the cove. It is part of our commitment to public education and outreach to keep property owners informed and maintain good relationships with all parties involved.

The information material below contains graphical summaries of our activities, i.e., measuring water quality parameters continuously with a logging probe and conducting biweekly beach seine surveys for silversides.

To a productive year 2016 in the cove!

Mumford Cove Ass_probe
Mumford Cove Ass_silversides

[Lab News] Mumford Cove in December … an underwater view

Roughly once a month, somebody from our lab has to hop on a small institute boat and drive the 20 min over to our local field site, Mumford Cove, to exchange the sensors on our monitoring buoy. Depending on water temperature, the Eureka Probes recording temperature, salinity, pH, and oxygen in 30 min intervals are getting exchanged with another newly calibrated one with a fresh set of batteries.
As usual, Jake’s seeing this a great occasion to bring his GoPro along and have a new underwater look at the cove. What’s interesting, the dense seagrass meadows that cover the Cove’s bottom have become spotty this time of the year, and there’s much more sand visible.

[Funding] New NSF OCE grant: 3 more exciting years of work!

We are happy to announce the continued support of the National Science Foundation, Division of Biological Oceanography, which just started to fund our project about multi-stressor effects on the early life stages of fish. This is collaborative work with Prof. Janet Nye’s lab at Stony Brook University, NY, which will strengthen ties between UConn and Stony Brook Marine Sciences. The work has already started and we’re looking forward to new discoveries!

Baumann, H. and Nye, J. 2015. Collaborative research: Understanding the effects of acidification and hypoxia within and across generations in a coastal marine fish. NSF Project# 1536336 (3 years)

Learn more by accessing the NSF-OCE non-technical proposal abstract

[Field work] Catching spawning sand lance on Stellwagen Bank | 11-3-15

Chris RV Auk Sediment grab
Chris Murray checking for sand lance caught by the sediment grab. RV Auk (Photo credit: Jacob Snyder)

By Jacob Snyder:
Chris and I meet up, grab the supplies we need (buckets, bags, coolers, aerators, etcetera), and start making our way to Scituate, Mass. Today we are going out on the NOAA vessel “Auk,” with a few members from NOAA and the USGS. Our goal? To collect approx. 200 Northern Sand Lance, Ammodytes dubius.

We boarded the ship …

Read the whole post and see all the pictures on Jake’s blog @ Red Skies Photography

Check out the footage from the day, thanks to Jake and his GoPro. Check-out the video from the second sampling trip about one month later, too!


[Field work] Golden morning, Mumford Cove

Golden fall morning at Mumford Cove. Picture-book conditions for beach seining with graduate and undergraduate students. Have a look for yourself (Picture credit: Sean Flynn, 9 Oct 2015)

[Field work] Beachseining from the fish perspective

On this golden-crisp early fall Friday morning (9-25-15), we went to our favorite spot again – Mumford Cove – to go beach seining. Thanks to the many helping hands – Chris, Jake, Elizabeth, Wes, Megan, and Hannes – we hand a ton of fun, while seeing a very diverse catch, among of course our target species – Atlantic silverside juveniles. These were measured on the beach and then preserved, and will ultimately become part of a larger study of the seasonal characteristics of survivors.

However, have you ever wondered what it must be like for fish to get caught in a beach seine. Well, thanks to Jake’s new GoPro and his ingenuity tethering it to the bag of the seine, here’s a glimpse (in HD). Enjoy!


Measuring and weighing the beach seine catch
Measuring and weighing the beach seine catch (f.l.t.r: Wes, Elizabeth, Megan, Jake, Chris)

A juvenile Northern Kingfish, Menticirrhus saxatilis
A juvenile Northern Kingfish, Menticirrhus saxatilis
Hermit crab needs new apartment
Hermit crab needs new apartment
Juvenile Winterflounder Pseudopleuronectes americanus
Juvenile Winterflounder Pseudopleuronectes americanus

Beach seining Mumford Cove 9-25-15

Elizabeth and Chris seining the Mumford Cove beach
Elizabeth and Chris seining the Mumford Cove beach

[Lab news] A summer research experience in the Baumann lab

Molly Hughes
Molly Hughes
Molly & Chris sampling fish larvae
Molly & Chris sampling fish larvae
Chris & Molly are measuring silverside adults used to fertilize the first experiment
Chris & Molly are measuring silverside adults used to fertilize the first experiment …

By Molly Hughes

This summer, I was lucky enough to work in the Rankin Lab at Avery Point. I’d been looking for an opportunity to gain lab and field experience in marine biology, particularly in fish ecology and hypoxia research. I could not have had a better experience than volunteering with Hannes Baumann and Chris Murray this summer. Their research combines issues of hypoxia, ocean acidification and fish ecology to give meaningful insight into the range of effects possible under a changing climate.

Volunteering in the lab, I was able to develop practical skills in fish biology that are already coming in handy in my upper level Ichthyology course. In the field, I learned how to use a seining net to catch specimens and identify target species. In the lab I participated in spawning fish, fertilizing eggs and day to day maintenance of larval fish and their environment.

However, just as valuable as practical skills is the perspective I gained from this experience. Before volunteering at the Rankin lab, I’d never considered the importance of creative thinking in research. When Hannes and Chris set out to study the combined effects of pH and oxygen levels on larval fish development, there was no starter kit available for them to do so. They had to create an entirely novel system, and only through resourcefulness and a lot of trial and error were they able to make their idea a reality. For me this meant days of drilling holes in five gallon buckets and hot gluing mesh over them. This was a creative solution to the problem of continuous water flow between the buckets within a tank. Its a comfort to know that my arts and crafts skills have relevance to my aspirations in marine biology.

I also walked away from this summer with an appreciation of the interconnectivity of the sciences and the importance of collaboration. When a fungal pathogen wiped out most of the larvae in the first trial of the Hypoxia/Acidification experiment, we were not equipped to identify it. Neither Hannes nor Chris specialize in mycology, but they were able to reach out to colleagues at Avery Point and Stony Brook who do. This is just one example of the many times I saw Chris and Hannes collaborate with scientists and engineers of different specialties this summer.
This being my first experience in a research environment, I was very fortunate to volunteer in a lab where I was able to gain such a wide range of skills and knowledge. I’m grateful to Hannes and Chris for introducing me to the research world and giving me the confidence to keep pursuing a career in marine biology.


[Lab News] Seining in Mumford Cove

Here are some pictures from one of our first beach seining trips to Mumford Cove, CT (16 May 2015)

Seining and water sampling in Mumford Cove, CT
Seining and water sampling in Mumford Cove, CT
Hannes and Chris in Mumford Cove, discussing how to sort the catch of silversides collected by beach seine
Hannes and Chris in Mumford Cove, discussing how to sort the catch of silversides collected by beach seine
Male and female silverside are separated and transported to our laboratory facility (Rankin Lab, UConn)
Male and female silverside are separated and transported to our laboratory facility (Rankin Lab, UConn)
Sorting the catch of the beach seine, Mumford Cove 16 May 2015
Sorting the catch of the beach seine, Mumford Cove 16 May 2015
Seining in Mumford Cove, CT
Seining in Mumford Cove, CT

[Lab News] David Conover visits Avery Point and our lab

A search party for Atlantic Silverside eggs. Dr. Conover visited our lab and in the morning hours of May 8th joined us in trying to find spawned silverside eggs in the intertidal zone of Mumford Cove.
A search party for Atlantic Silverside eggs. Dr. Conover visited our lab and in the morning hours of May 8th joined us in trying to find spawned silverside eggs in the intertidal zone of Mumford Cove.
On Friday morning, a little search party crossed Bluff Point Park in the hazy morning hours. Hannes, Chris (+bear), Jake and our guest, David Conover from Stony Brook University, set out to find eggs of Atlantic silversides in the intertidal zone of Mumford Cove. Dr. Conover explained, how and where to look, while the fog slowly got burned off and a gorgeous spring day began. Later, Dr. Conover gave a Friday seminar at the Marine Sciences Department titled: “Crisis in the Funding of Basic Research in the Ocean Sciences: An Inside Perspective on NSF and the Role of the Community”. Thank you for your visit, David!
New Spartina shoots at Mumford Cove on May 8th 2015
New Spartina shoots at Mumford Cove on May 8th 2015
A week after the first spawning moon of Atlantic silversides (M. menidia) at Mumford Cove, members of the lab and Dr. David Conover (SBU) are looking for silverside eggs.
A week after the first spawning moon of Atlantic silversides (M. menidia) at Mumford Cove, members of the lab and Dr. David Conover (SBU) are looking for silverside eggs.