Lab News

[Lab news] Baumann lab attends the Larval Fish Conference in Victoria


Holding the fort at the Rankin lab were Emma and Sydney, who did an excellent job. Thank you guys!

The Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort was the conference venue

Before the conference, we all attended a workshop on larval fish identification
Whale-watching with Corinne, Julie & Chris
Here is how Julie experienced her first LFC:

Ever since attending the American Fisheries Society conference in 2014, I’ve wanted to go to another fish-focused conference. I was lucky enough to attend the 42nd annual Larval Fish Conference this year in Victoria, British Columbia, and it surpassed all my expectations. The week started off with a larval fish identification workshop where we got to learn techniques from renowned larval fish experts (and see some really cool fish larvae!). The talks were impressive and thought-provoking, providing many new ideas for research and how to give an engaging talk. My favorite part was meeting all the larval fish ecologists whose publications I’ve been reading for my thesis. I spent most of my evenings exploring Victoria with other grad students attending the conference and left with many new friends from institutes all over the world! The trip ended with a whale watch, where we saw a pod of 5 Orcas. Overall, the Larval Fish Conference was a great experience that I hope to someday attend again!

Oral presentations:

  • Pringle, J. and Baumann, H. Sex-specific growth and mortality patterns in juvenile Atlantic silversides (Menidia menidia) from Connecticut waters. Talk. 42nd Larval Fish Conference, Victoria, BC, Canada 24-28 June 2018
  • Murray, C.S., Wiley, D., and Baumann, H. Early life stages of the northern sand lance Ammodytes dubius show high sensitivity to acidification and warming in a CO2 × temperature factorial experiment. Talk. 42nd Larval Fish Conference, Victoria, BC, Canada 24-28 June 2018

Water taxi in Victoria

Old Victoria
Beyond this point …
Orca whale
Harbor front with Parliament building
Local celebrity, the one eyed seal

[Lab video] How a new silverside experiment starts

29 June 2018. A new experiment with Atlantic silversides (Menidia menidia) starts and as usual, it’s an all hand on deck operation. This time, we have Chris Tsang shadowing all of us and Emma professionally explaining the process.

Have a look for yourself!

[Lab news] Video of Mumford Cove probe swap

14 June 2018. Members of the Baumann and Mason lab went on a trip to Mumford Cove, today, and Chris Tsang went along with his GoPro. Thanks to Charlie, the skipper, the ride was smooth and a pleasure, a swapping our pH, Temperature, oxygen, and salinity sensor was successfully swapped with a new one recording for the next weeks in 30 minute intervals. Wes Hoffman from the Mason lab, collected zooplankton with a Bongo-net. Sydney Stark, our NSF-REU student this summer, came along just for the fun.

See the fun for yourself!

[Research news] A day at Harvards MCZ

Friday, 8 June 2018. Hannes and Maria traveled to Boston’s Harvard University to meet with Valentina di Santo from the Lauder Lab at the Museum for Comparative Zoology. Thanks to our collaborators there, we were able to use a 2D-digital X-ray machine there, which we needed to complete the next big step in our Menidia Gene project.

Genetic & body samples went in different vials
Maria Akopyan processing the fish after x-raying
Maria and Valentina in the shark section of the collection

A few weeks ago, Maria had already measured each individual fish's length, weight, shape, routine metabolism, and maximum sustained swim speed. The next trait we're keen on mapping quantitatively to the silverside genome is the number of vertebrae, which we know increases in wild populations from south to north. What will our South/North hybrid F2 generation show?
At the Lauder lab, ‘lunch together’ is common thing

The famous Latimeria from the collection
Thanks to Valentina's excellent help, the work went without a hitch. At the end, we even had some spare time to enjoy the great atmosphere int the Lauder Lab during lunchtime, the tour through various lab installations, the experimental fish, and even the adjacent Harvard Zoological museum. Thank you all for the fun day at Harvard!

Settings used for x-raying juvenile silversides
Hannes and Valentina in the x-ray room
George Lauder adjusting equipment in the swim lab

The 282 fish are now split in a DNA sample for extraction and a body sample for further trait measurements.


A busy day in the Baumann Lab

On 18 May 2018, the Baumann lab teemed with activity. Maria Akopyan from Cornell University was busy phenotyping juvenile silversides for our Menidia Gene project. Mia and Mackenzie were busy working up field samples of silversides. And Hannes prepared adult silverside samples for later analyses.

[Lab news] The old swim flume coming back to life

4 April 2018. Today, Adelle Molina and Teresa Schwemmer from the Nye Lab at Stony Brook University visited us with a bunch of respirometry equipment in tow. We were trying to find out how to measure critical swimming speeds and oxygen consumption on individual silverside juveniles. This information, along with other individual traits such as growth, lipid content, and vertebral number will later be used in our new NSF-project examining the genetic underpinnings of local adaptation in this species.
One crucial piece of equipment to do this work is a swimming chamber, also called swim flume. The one we will use is almost 20 years old and has already been used for silverside work more than a decade ago. After a long odyssey through several labs and institutions in the US, we finally got hold of it again, gave it some serious TLC and now hope to resurrect it. Thanks to our pro’s from Stony Brook, the first tests were promising today! Thank you Adelle and Teresa.

Menidia swimming
A ~ 3 cm juvenile silverside swimming against the induced current in the swim tunnel
Swim chamber
An old lady, but still shiny and good to go!
Adelle and Teresa in the Rankin Lab

[New publication] No CO2 effects on silverside starvation

31 March 2018. We’re happy to announce that Marine Biology just published our latest study examining the starvation tolerance of silverside larvae and juveniles at contrasting CO2 conditions. We compiled observations from five separate experiments spanning different years, laboratories, temperatures, life stages, and CO2 levels. Contrary to expectation, we found that starvation rates were largely independent of the CO2 environment in this fish species.

One major set of data was produced by Elle Parks as part of her Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) in summer 2017. Well done, everybody!

Hannes shows Elle Parks (REU 2017), how individual screen with enumerated embryos are suspended into the replicate rearing containers. (Photo: Peter Morenus, UConn)
On 9 June, Elle and Julie strip-spawn Atlantic silverside females into spawning dishes covered in window screen for eggs to attach. (Photo: Peter Morenus, UConn)

M. menidia. (A) Relative cumulative starvation mortalities of early juveniles reared under ambient (grey line, diamonds) vs. high CO2 conditions (black line, circles). Symbols depict individual replicates, lines represent treatment means. (B) Total length of juveniles perishing during the experiment at ambient (grey diamonds) vs. high CO2 conditions (black circles). Lines represent the median(solid lines), 5th and 95th percentiles (dashed lines) of TL estimated with locally weighted, non-parametric density estimators. The initial TL distribution at the beginning of the experiment is depicted on day 0 as the median (white circle), 5th/95th percentiles (whiskers) and the minimum and maximum (white stars).

[Research news] Silversides in a CT scanner

26 March 2018. Today we got our first glimpse of an incredible new way of imaging the inner calcified structures of a fish body, particularly the ear bones (otoliths), of which every teleost fish has six, three on each side inside the skull. Otoliths are long known to fish ecologists for their properties to record and store information about a fish’s age, growth and habitat. With an adult Atlantic silverside, Hannes visited John Shepherd, facilities scientist and member of the Goldhamer lab at UConn, Storrs (Biology Physics Building), who showed us the use of a new, state-of-the-art micro CT-scanner (IVIS). Turns out, the system effortlessly imaged all six otoliths inside of the fish’s head. Later in the year, we will use the technique to image silversides reared at contrasting CO2 conditions to see whether they differ in their otolith size, volume, and structure. Thank you, John, for this truly inspiring demonstration!

CTscan Menidia

[New publication] Brachiopods resilient to global change

Congratulations to Emma Cross to her new publication in Global Change Biology today!

The common brachiopod Calloria inconspicua (pink shells) in their natural environment in New Zealand. Photo credit: Dr Liz Harper.
Her study that was part of her PhD-research concludes that the brachiopod Calloria inconspicua, a common seafloor dwelling marine invertebrate from New Zealand, is more resilient to environmental change than expected.

Read the full press release by the British Antarctic Survey