Projects

[Research news] Sandlance are spawning on Stellwagen Bank again!

15 November 2018. After a stretch of foul weather kept us from going out to Stellwagen Bank last week, this time all the stars aligned for Emma and Mackenzie. Due to their success in catching spawning ripe Northern sandlance, we are now embarking on our third year of CO2 x temperature experiments on this species!


Mackenzie-Blanusa
Here is how Mackenzie Blanusa experienced her first trip to these enigmatic waters:
“This particular sandlance cruise was a day filled with firsts and is definitely a trip to remember. I accompanied Emma, Hannes’ postdoc, up to Scituate the night before the cruise and was given a rundown of what needed to be accomplished. I was a bit overwhelmed at first, because I’ve never dealt with sandlances before and did not know a lot about these fish. Nevertheless, I was eager to learn something new and was ready to help out wherever needed.

The goal of the sandlance cruise was to collect running ripe males and females to do a fertilization via strip spawning. Emma and I were a bit doubtful at first because we got less than 10 sandlance on the first two trolls. However, things got much better by the afternoon, and our most successful trawl caught 147 sand lance. I helped out with the fertilization and deploying the trawl, two things I have never done before. The most exciting part of the day was getting to see humpback whales. Usually they are in the distance but today they were right next to the boat. Everyone on board said that this never happens and it was very unusual so I felt very lucky to have seen whales at such a close proximity.”

Overall, the trip was a huge success and it was very refreshing to see everything go as planned. The only downside to the day was driving back home through a snowstorm. I later found out that there was a 73% fertilization success and we got 27,000 embryos for Emma’s experiment. I am very grateful to have gotten the opportunity to help out on this sampling cruise and am looking forward to doing this again in the future!


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Emma on the makeshift spawning station for sand lance on board the RV Auk
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Mackenzie strip-spawning sand lance on the ship

Stellwagen whales
Added perks of doing research on Stellwagen Bank …


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Exactly 0.5ml of sand lance eggs (~ 600) were distributed into each replicate per treatment
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Emma and Julie pipetting sand lance eggs

[Lab news] Baumann & Therkildsen lab on a silverside road trip

28 October 2018. Members of the Therkildsen (Nina Therkildsen, Maria Akopyan) and Baumann labs (Hannes Baumann, Callie Concannon) went on a joint road trip together to sample juvenile Atlantic silversides for our NSF project about the genomic underpinnings of local adaptation in the ocean. We targeted again three sites, Morehead City NC, Oregon Inlet NC, and Chincoteague Island VA, sampling silversides via beach seine. The weather was lousy and the work strenuous, but the mood elated, because we got all the fish we needed for subsequent genomic and otolith analyses.
What a great collaboration. Check out some of the pictures from the trip below.

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[Research news] Live staining of silverside neuromasts at URI

By Emma Cross.

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23 Juli 2018. Yesterday Hannes and Emma took a short road trip to the University of Rhode Island to visit Professor Jacqueline Webb’s lab to learn about in vivo fluorescent imaging.

This technique involves placing live fish in a fluorescent mitrochondrial stain for 5 minutes before imaging different areas of the fish under a dissecting microscope equipped with an epiflourescence light source. This allowed us to visualize small sense organs called neuromasts located in tubular canals in the head, trunk and tail, which form the fish sensory lateral line system used to detect water flows.


We are interested to see if high CO2 conditions affect these neuromasts in the Atlantic silverside, which could impact their critical schooling behaviors.

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Take a look at some of the stunning images below! Thank you to Jackie and all the lab for a fun-filled day!

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[New publication] Complex CO2 x temperature effects in Menidia offspring

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20 July 2018. We are happy to announce that Diversity just published Chris Murray’s paper on complex CO2 x temperature effects in Atlantic silverside offspring. The paper synthesizes 5 large multistressor experiments conducted since 2014, finding evidence for the large CO2 tolerance in this species across a large temperature range.

Congrats, Chris, to the second chapter published!

  • Murray, C.S. and Baumann, H. You better repeat it: complex temperature × CO2 effects in Atlantic silverside offspring revealed by serial experimentation. Diversity 10:69

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    M. menidia. Offspring responses to control (blue), high (red), and extreme (green) CO2 conditions at four temperatures across five CO2 × temperature factorial experiments. Traits include embryo survival (A–E), hatch length (F–I), larval survival (J–N) and larval growth rate (O–R). Individual replicates are represented by small faded circles. Treatment means (±SD) are depicted by large, bold circles and connected by dotted lines. Note: different scales used for hatch length measurements due to differences in sample timing; panels F and G use 1dph length Y axis (left) while panels H and I use hatch length Y axis (right).

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

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

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    The Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort was the conference venue

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    Before the conference, we all attended a workshop on larval fish identification

    https://www.fishersci.com/shop/products/fisherbrand-class-a-clear-glass-threaded-vials-attached-caps-pe-poly-seal-cone-liner-8/14955326
    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

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    Water taxi in Victoria

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    Old Victoria
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    Beyond this point …
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    Orca whale
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    Harbor front with Parliament building
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    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.

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    Genetic & body samples went in different vials
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    Maria Akopyan processing the fish after x-raying
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    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?
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    At the Lauder lab, ‘lunch together’ is common thing

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    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!

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    Settings used for x-raying juvenile silversides
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    Hannes and Valentina in the x-ray room
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    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.

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    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.