Lab News

[New publication] Mothers matter for the CO2 sensitivity of fish offspring

28 November 2017. The Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology just published the latest study by our group looking at differences in the CO2 sensitivity of Atlantic silverside offspring stemming from different mothers. Congratulations to Jacob Snyder for his first peer-reviewed publication.

Among the highlights of the study:

  • Offspring produced by different females varied in their sensitivity to high CO2 conditions.
  • Specific fatty acids in eggs were correlated to the log-transformed CO2 response ratio of embryo survival and hatch length.
  • Maternal provisioning might be an additional determinant of CO2 sensitivity in fish early life stages.

Citation:

Snyder, J.T.*, Murray, C.S.*, and Baumann, H. (2018)
Potential for maternal effects on offspring CO2 sensitivities in the Atlantic silverside (Menidia menidia).
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 499:1-8


Fig2 - dancing men

[Lab news] Baumann lab attends the CERF conference in Providence, RI

FCERF2017
Ashley van Etten designed the beautiful official artwork representing this years CERF conference. Thanks Ashley for letting our lab feature your art here!
On 5-9 November 2017, the Baumann lab attended the 24th Biennial Conference of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Foundation (CERF) in Providence, RI. The conference is a unique blend of academic and conservation science and comprises an ideal venue for students to present their thesis research to a broad national and international audience. Best of all this year: the conference logo featured a beautiful piece of art depicting an underwater scene with our most beloved, famous fish, the Atlantic silverside. Big shout out to Ashley van Etten and her inspiring artwork!

Together with Steve Litvin (Monterey Bay Aquarium) Hannes convened a theme session titled “Physiological ecology in the Anthropocene: linking the laboratory and field” and talked about our recently published paper on pH and oxygen fluctuations in nearshore coastal environments. Jake presented his Master thesis research on the newly digitized long-term time series of Project Oceanology, and Julie talked about the first aspect of her ongoing research on silverside otoliths and inferred patterns of growth and temperature-dependent sex determination. Well done, all!


  • Baumann H. and Smith, E.M. 2017. Quantifying the covariance of pH and oxygen conditions across the diversity of US nearshore habitats.
  • Pringle, J.W. and Baumann H. 2017. Sex-specific growth and mortality patterns in juvenile Atlantic silversides (Menidia menidia) from Connecticut waters.
  • DeMayo, J.A., Park, G., Norton, L., Huffman, W., Finiguerra, M., Baumann H., and Dam, H.G. 2017. Combined effects of warming and acidification on life-history traits of the calanoid copepod Acartia tonsa.
  • Snyder, J.T. and Baumann H. 2017. A newly digitized 45-year dataset of environmental and biological observations from Long Island Sound.

[Lab news] Baumann lab participates in Avery Point Open House Event

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15 October 2017: All members of the Baumann lab – Hannes, Emma, Chris, Julie and Jake had fun at an Open House event at the Avery Point Campus as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations. The whole department participated with a flurry of educational activities and fun exhibitions.
Our lab manned a table outside the Rankin Lab, telling people about the nearshore fish community, the phenomenon of ocean acidification and the measurement of pH in water. Everybody chipped in, thanks!
Hannes also premiered reciting Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax” in front of young and old in the AP auditorium.

Check out some of the fun around the “Ocean Acidification and our fish” table:

ChrisTank
There are fish!
JakeandJulieTable
Jake and Emma assist a little scientist in measuring the pH in our two demonstration tanks


Menidia
Atlantic silversides from Mumford Cove, CT, swimming in our tanks. After the end of the demonstration, we released back into the wild.
RobMason
Prof. Rob Mason taking briefly over our display. Emerging topic apparently – Mercury and ocean acidification


SashaLuka
Fascinating sea life …

Lukaseastar
What an incredible creature a sea star is!

DrSeuss
Hannes recited “The Lorax” – Dr. Seuss classic, comic-poetic tale of greed and environmental destruction

JulieTableLizSister
Julie manning our Ocean acidification outreach table at the Rankin Lab on 15 Oct 2017

[Lab news] Measuring juvenile silversides. Live.

10 October 2017. Today, Chris, Emma, and Julie measured over 400 juvenile Atlantic silversides for their length and weight. This time, however, we did not euthanize the fish before, but successfully measured them while still alive, only a little drowsy from the mild anesthetic we administered before.

Click on the video below to have a look for yourself.
Congratulations all, for a job well done!


[New publication] Nearshore pH and DO fluctuations across 16 US estuaries!

October, 2nd, 2017: Happy to announce that Estuaries and Coasts just published (online) our article that looked unifying principles of pH and DO fluctuations across many US nearshore habitats. The datasets belongs to the US Nearshore Estuaries Research Reserves System (NERRS) and is one of the most extensive monitoring datasets in coastal aquatic habitats. In this case, we used 15 years of continuous monitoring data (> 5 million data points) from 16 different reserves across the US Atlantic, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific coasts and analyses short- to long-term variability in pH and DO fluctuations. Among the highlights:

  • Our analyses confirmed that large, metabolically driven fluctuations of pH and DO are a unifying feature of nearshore habitats. Even more so, we were able to show that across habitats, one can predict mean pH or mean diel pH fluctuations simply based on salinity and oxygen levels/fluctuations. This provides strong empirical evidence that common metabolic principles drive diel to seasonal pH/DO variations within as well as across a diversity of estuarine environments.
  • As expected, there are no monotonic trends in nearshore pH conditions, but interannual fluctuations that are of similar magnitude than the pH decrease predicted for the average surface ocean over the next three centuries.
  • By correlating weekly anomalies of pH, oxygen, and temperature, we found strong empirical support to the notion that coastal acidification — in addition to being driven by eutrophication and atmospheric CO2 increases — is exacerbated simply by warming, likely via increasing community respiration.

Citation and link:
Baumann, H. and Smith, E. (2017) Quantifying metabolically-driven pH and oxygen fluctuations in US nearshore habitats at diel to interannual time-scales Estuaries & Coasts (published online 2 Oct 2017)


Baumann-&-Smith-ESCO_Fig6
Among many other aspects, the paper analyzed interannual trends in temperature (red bars), dissolved oxygen (%, blue bars), and pH (green bars) at 16 US Nearshore Ecological Research Reserves (NERRS), shown as yearly anomalies derived from averaging monthly anomalies for each variable, site, and year. Black trend lines were derived by LOESS smoothing.

[Lab news] Chris and Hannes attend ICES Annual Science conference

ASC 2017 poster

On 19-21 September 2017, Chris Murray and Hannes Baumann traveled to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to attend the ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) Annual Science Conference in order to present our ongoing NSF and NOAA funded research on potential ocean acidification effects in Atlantic Silversides and Norther Sand lance. Due to Hurricane Irma, which had impacted all of Florida just a week earlier, it was a great relief that the conference could actually be successfully held.

Together with Chris Chambers (NOAA), Ian Bradbury (DFO, Canada), and Richard McBride (NOAA), Hannes convened a theme session titled “Patterns, sources, and consequences of intraspecific variation in responses of marine fauna to environmental stressors“.

Chris gave a talk and a poster during this session, which was well received and was a worthwhile exposure for Chris and our lab’s research.


  • Murray, C. S. and Baumann H. 2017. Growth costs of high CO2 environments in a marine fish: importance of feeding methodology. Talk.
  • Murray, C. S., Wiley, D., and Baumann H. 2017. A preliminary study testing the effects of high CO2 on the early life stages of the northern sand lance Ammodytes dubius. Poster.

[Lab news] Emma Cross joins the team!

Emma-Cross

Emma Cross joined our team as a post-doctoral researcher in September 2017, after receiving her PhD from Cambridge University, UK, in spring 2016. Her previous work focused on the CO2-sensitivity of antarctic brachiopods, a group of ancient, sessile calcifiers that build large shells but are unrelated to mollusks. In addition to experimental approaches, she examined historical collections of specimens from New Zealand. Her findings suggest that brachiopods can cope with acidifying oceans by compensating for increased shell dissolution by increased shell growth. Emma now transitions to working with fish, particularly Atlantic silversides, testing how fluctuating pH and oxygen environments typical of nearshore environments affect early life survival and growth.


Have a look at Emma’s recent publications


Here’s how Emma describes her first weeks of her new chapter of life and science:

“Everything is going swimmingly well so far (pun intended!). It is really great to be a part of the Baumann lab and I’m really enjoying expanding my knowledge of biological impacts of environmental change. My previous ocean acidification and warming research focussed on the effects on polar and temperate brachiopod shells so I’m now looking forward to investigating more climate change stressors and impacts on different taxa. I have already participated in my first beach seining trip exploring the local biodiversity and getting a feel for the regular fieldwork undertaken by the Baumann lab. It was lots of fun and I’m so excited to be carrying out research at an Institute located right on the ocean again! I am also enjoying living in a new country and looking forward to exploring more once I’ve finished building all my flatpack furniture!”

[Lab news] Baumann & Nye lab attend 41st Larval Fish Conference

From 11-16 July, Hannes, Chris, Jake (Baumann lab, UConn) and Teresa (Nye lab, Stony Brook) were presenting research from our common NSF project at the 41st Larval Fish Conference, organized by the Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society in Austin, TX.

Hannes Baumann
Chris-Murray
Jacob-Snyder
Teresa-Schwemmer

Holding the fort and maintaining experiments at Avery Point were James, Julie, and Elle. Thank you for helping out.

JamesHarrington
Julie-Pringle
Elle-Parks_s

We gave four talks in two sessions:

  • Baumann H., Snyder, J.T., and Murray, C.S. 2017. Quantifying offspring CO2-sensitivity in a fish: a meta-analysis.
  • Snyder, J.T., Murray, C.S., and Baumann H. 2017.
    Potential for maternal effects on offspring CO2 sensitivity in a coastal marine fish
  • Murray, C.S., Snyder, J.T., and Baumann H. 2017. A multi-factorial evaluation of temperature-dependent CO2-effects in a coastal forage fish.
  • Schwemmer, T., Baumann H., and Nye, J. 2017.
    Physiological effects of increased temperature and carbon dioxide on Atlantic silverside early life stages
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Here is how Jake rates his first international conference experience:

Jacob-Snyder
Austin Texas, July 2017. “Attending the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists was my first visit to Austin Texas and my first large-conference presentation. My presentation was part of the Larval Fish Conference, a sub-section of the larger meeting, and I quickly learned how welcoming the larval fish group of researchers, scientists, professionals, and students were. Having not been to a “destination” conference like this before, I had little expectations, but I had a lot of fun networking, discussing research, and socializing. I think the coolest non-conference related event was seeing the Mexican Free-Tailed bats that live in the Congress Street Bridge, as every night around sunset they leave to go feed. Seeing hundreds of thousands of bats stream out of the bridge was incredible, and something I’d highly recommend. The city of Austin was great, and I spent much of the first day (pre-conference) exploring the city in the scorching heat. Overall the Baumann Lab had an excellent time at the conference, and can’t wait for the next one!”

Jacob Snyder “Austin 2017” photoblog. RedSkiesPhotography

[Lab news] Group effort – starting new silverside experiments in June 2017

It’s the beginning of June, and in the Baumann lab that means: high time for experimental research on the Atlantic Silverside, the famous forage fish and important model species! This year, we have several major objectives; our NSF-sponsored research examines the sensitivity of offspring to the individual and combined effects of high CO2 and low oxygen (Chris Murray), while in collaboration with our colleagues from Cornell University we rear several families for genetic and transcriptomic studies. Elle Parks, our REU student just started her work on the effects of CO2 and temperature on the starvation resistance of silverside larvae. As always, the days when new experiments start are a group effort, where everybody including many volunteers help. Thanks to Peter Morenus (UConn) for the coming down for documenting the activities!

This story is also featured on UConn Today.



[Field work] To Georgia and back in 48h – a special road trip for science

By H.B.

Somewhere after Richmond, VA, the sun sets and traffic on the I-95 begins moving better. At long last. The four people in the burgundy Dogde Challenger have all already cycled through their driving shifts once and dare an impatient glance at the time left. Still more than 8 hours. More than 8 hours to reach this very special location at the Atlantic coast – Jekyll Island, Georgia. In the trunk of the car a jumble of coolers and a beach seine, buckets, air pumps, and hoses topped with the crumpled witnesses of roadside dining. This is no ordinary road trip.

We, that are Aryn and Nicholas from the Therkildsen lab of Conservation Genetics lab at Cornell University and James and Hannes from the Fish Ecology Lab here at UConn; we went on this road trip to catch live, spawning ripe Atlantic silversides from the southern edge of the species distribution. We then intended to bring these fish back to UConn alive, sample another population from the south shore of Long Island (Patchogue, NY) and produce genetic crosses of these populations.

The broad goal of our expanding collaborative efforts with our geneticist friends from Cornell is the creation of an annotated genome of this species, which will be an important milestone in deepening or understanding of the molecular and genetic responses of organisms to local selection regimes and marine climate change. Given the Atlantic silverside’s ecological importance as an abundant forage fish along the American east coast and it’s rich history as a model organism in evolutionary and ecological studies, the annotated genome is the next logical step.

Even at hindsight, the plan still seems a little insane. But it worked. We indeed managed to catch spawning silversides at the Georgia site and then transported them immediately back to our Rankin Lab, which involved another 17 hours of driving back. After securing samples from Patchogue, we indeed managed to cross single parents from each site to produce full-sib crosses that will later be used to produce what geneticist call a linkage map. Other across and within-population crosses will be used to study gene expression at two different temperatures or raise adults for producing an F2 generation.

The silverside larvae are currently well, feeding, and growing up nicely. We all cross fingers for this enterprise to end in good samples and a step forward for genetic studies on a marine fish.