Talks

Kelli Mosca presents Master thesis research on Atlantic Sturgeon

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21 March 2022. Today, Baumann lab graduate student Kelli Mosca presented her Masters thesis entitled "Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus) Growth and Habitat Use in the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound". She did a marvelous job summarizing the multifaceted findings on age and growth of Atlantic sturgeon in the eastern Long Island Sound and the Connecticut River, their movement patterns based on analyses of acoustic telemetry data, while evaluating the evidence for indications that Atlantic sturgeon may utilize the Connecticut River again for spawning.

Kelli was an inspirational and cherished member of the Baumann lab, who literally mastered the challenges of being a 'whole-pandemic' Master student. Her dedication and continued work for CTDEEP were awarded by an offer for a CTDEEP Fishery Biologist I position, which she has wholeheartedly accepted. Congratulations Kelli, and all the best for the next steps in your career!

The UConn Department of Marine Sciences
Presents a Master’s Thesis Presentation by

Kelli Mosca
B.S., University of New Haven, 2017

12:00 p.m., Monday, March 21, 2022
Lowell Weicker Building, Seminar Room 103 or Via WebEx

Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus) Growth and Habitat Use in the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound

Atlantic sturgeon (ATS, Acipenser oxyrinchus) are long-lived, anadromous, and endangered fish with a wide geographical distribution along the east coast of North America. Historically known to spawn in numerous rivers, many spawning runs ended due to intense fishing pressure and habitat obstruction in the 19th and 20th centuries. This was thought to be true for the longest river in the US Northeast, the Connecticut River, until pre-migratory ATS juveniles appeared in the river in 2014. Here, I use a long-term archive of fin spine samples and three years of acoustically tagged ATS to generally expand knowledge about the ATS using the CT River and LIS, and specifically examine these empirical data for potential evidence of re-emergent spawning behavior. I analyzed 301 sections of ATS fins spines collected from 1988-2021 to determine age, annuli widths, and thus population- and individual-based growth patterns. I found that the vast majority of ATS in my study area were juveniles and sub-adults with an average (± SD) age of 7.5 ± 3.1 years and an average (± SD) length of 101 ± 26 cm. The weighed, population-based Von Bertalanffy growth model estimated a K of 0.08 (95% CL, 0.01/0.17) and a L∞ of 171.2 cm (95% CI, 129/547 cm), the latter likely showing signs of missing large adults. K and L∞ distributions showed no sign of sex-specific multi-modality. Longitudinal length back-calculations revealed the selective disappearance of faster growing phenotypes (at ages 2-6) with increasing age at capture, which is clear evidence for Lee’s phenomenon. Acoustic detections of telemetered Atlantic sturgeon (2019-2021) revealed that most sturgeon in 2019 and 2020 utilized the Lower CT River (brackish water), whereas in 2021 detections were highest in LIS (salt water). Detections in the Upper CT River (freshwater) were common but much less dense across years, with 53%, 69% and 45% of ATS detected in the Upper CT River at some point in each season (2019-2021 respectively). I found a positive relationship of fish proportion in the CT River with temperature, but an inverse relationship of fish proportion in the CT River with river discharge. On average, the arrival of fish in the CT River occurred in June, when water temperatures were 17.5 - 24.9 ºC, while the departure from the CT River generally occurred in October, coinciding with river temperatures of 15.2 - 20.4 ºC. Some of the fish utilizing the Upper CT River made directed movements to a potential spawning ground at Portland, CT (river km 47). However, these movements occurred in mid- to late August (12th -23rd), which is inconsistent with the typical spring timing of ATS spawning runs in northern populations. Fall spawning runs are only known for southern ATS populations. In addition to timing, ATS sizes in the Upper CT River also do not support spawning behavior, because fish of all sizes (72 – 154 cm TL) and ages (3-15) visited the Portland area for 0.25 – 63.25 days. I conclude that neither age nor telemetry data support the re-emergence of the CT River as an ATS spawning ground. Future work will benefit from a more even sampling of gear sizes and should examine possible explanations for ATS freshwater utilization including feeding and individual preferences.

Major Advisor: Hannes Baumann
Associate Advisor: Eric Schultz
Associate Advisor: Tom Savoy
Associate Advisor: Jacque Benway
Associate Advisor: Catherine Matassa

Hannes gives DMS Friday seminar on sand lance ecology

4 March 2022. Hannes was the invited speaker at today's Friday seminar of the Department of Marine Sciences. His talk gave an overview of the research highlights of our multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional efforts to better understand basic ecological facts, population connectivity & structure, and the unusually high CO2-sensitivity of sand lance embryos. The remotely given presentation was attended by 62 people, some of which listened in from as far away as Norway!

The talk was recorded and can be accessed via the public link below.


The unusual ecology and climate sensitivity of sand lance, a key forage fish on the Northwest-Atlantic Shelf

No matter how you look at these small, slender-bodied fishes that at times live buried in sediment or emerge as dense pelagic schools, northern sand lance (Ammodytes dubius) easily awe even the most hard-to-impress scientist or naturalist. Their unusual behavior, patchy occurrence, and reproductive timing are paralleled by their extraordinary importance as forage fish that sustain well-known hotspots of iconic predators (cod, tuna, sharks, seabirds, whales) all across the Northwest Atlantic shelf. And yet, despite their recognized role as the ‘backbone’ of many shelf ecosystems, we still don’t understand many basic aspects of sand lance ecology, population structure and their vulnerability to manmade climate change. Over the past years, our lab has been working alongside other US and Canadian research groups on multiple sand lance projects that have produced stunning new insights into these enigmatic fish. This seminar will outline some of the highlights. We discovered that the seasonal growth of these fish relies heavily on the lipid-rich copepod Calanus finmarchicus and showed that after a dormancy period in summer they spawn on Stellwagen Bank for just a brief period at the end of fall. To resolve questions of connectivity between sand lance areas, we performed large-scale Lagrangian drift simulations that suggested areas of high, low and negligible retention of sand lance offspring and showed overlaps with planned offshore wind lease areas. A large collaborative effort succeeded in obtaining specimens from across the entire distributional range (Greenland to Mid-Atlantic Bight), and subsequent whole genome sequencing newly revealed a stark genomic differentiation between northern and southern population clusters. Last, we performed multiple years of rearing experiments on embryos that consistently showed an unusual sensitivity of sand lance to future, high CO2 oceans. When coupled with regional, end-of-century pCO2 projections we estimate that rising CO2 levels alone could reduce sand lance hatching success to 71% in 2100 relative to today. Warming, acidification, and habitat exploitation therefore emerge as key factors lining up against the future productivity of this forage fish, which is so critically important across Northwest-Atlantic shelf ecosystems.


Video: A November day on Stellwagen Bank

Lucas Jones presents his Masters Thesis research!

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Lucas and Hannes celebrating the successful thesis presentation

Monday, November 22nd 2021. Big and heartfelt congratulations to Lucas Jones, who presented his Master thesis to his peers at the institute and colleagues national and international. Well done, Lucas!

A link to his recorded presentation will be posted here soon.


The UConn Department of Marine Sciences

Presents a Master’s Thesis Presentation by

Lucas Jones

B.A., University of Connecticut, 2018

4:00 p.m., Monday, November 22, 2021

Marine Sciences Building, Seminar Room 103

 

Using Low-Coverage, Whole Genome Sequencing to Study Northern Sand Lance (Ammodytes dubius) Population Connectivity in the Northwest Atlantic

 Northern sand lance (Ammodytes dubius) are key forage fish in Northwest Atlantic (NWA) shelf ecosystems, where they exclusively occur on coarse-grain, offshore sand banks. This patchy occurrence may result in genetically more fragmented, less connected populations, but traditional morphological or genomic approaches have so far been unsuccessful in fully resolving the species’ population structure and connectivity. My study pursued an alternative genomic approach, using low-coverage, whole genome sequencing (LcWGS) to address these important questions. I extracted DNA from 273 A.dubius specimens collected by collaborators from sevenregions across the species geographical range, from Greenland to New Jersey, USA. From LcWGS data, I identified 11,558,126 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that allowed quantifying genetic differentiation between populations (FST), thereby revealing the genetic structuring of populations throughout the NWA. Despite the potentially homogenizing influence of the general north to south ocean circulation, I found a clear genetic break around Nova Scotia that delineated a northern from a southern A. dubius supergroup. Only within the southern supergroup, genetic distances increased with the geographic distance between sample sites. At the focal site of Stellwagen Bank (southern Gulf of Maine), A. dubius samples collected over several years (2014 – 2019) revealed small but significant temporal genetic differences that imply varying occupation of this offshore habitat by genetically different sand lance contingents. Inclusion of samples from the inshore congener A. americanus confirmed the clear genetic separation between both species and further determined that all sand lance caught on Stellwagen Bank are exclusively A. dubius. Overall, my work suggests the existence of two spatially distinct A. dubius populations with little ‘realized’ connectivity, which is critical knowledge to aid protection and management of offshore marine resources.

 

Major Advisor:                   Hannes Baumann

Associate Advisor:            Nina Overgaard Therkildsen

Associate Advisor:            Senjie Lin

44th Larval Fish Conference held virtually 24-26 June

Groton, CT 24-26 June 2021. The long awaited and anxiously prepared virtual 44th Larval Fish Conference was held, featuring more than 240 participants from 28 countries. 58 scientific talks, including 3 keynote lectures were given via Cisco’s WebEx platform, whereas networking activities such as poster presentations, ‘Meet the Speaker’ events, and Mentor hours used the innovative Gatherly platform. The technology was working out well, the preparation paid off, and delegates were overall enthusiastic about this virtual alternative, which was forced on us by Covid-19, but may have shown us new ways and concepts to broaden the societies reach and equality.

The post-conference website is housed at https://lfc44.marinesciences.uconn.edu

Special thanks go to the scientific steering committee Eric Schultz, Jacqueline Webb, and Paul Anderson. Lauren Schaller, Anne Hill, Harley Erickson, and Kate Copeland from UConn’s conference services did a great job as well preparing and running parts of the events. Support came from NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center.


‘Hooked on OA’ – Hannes talks about fish CO2 sensitivity to recreational anglers

25 February 2021. The Mid-Atlantic Ocean Acidification Network (MACAN) organized a four-part webinar series on Ocean Acidification geared specifically towards recreational anglers and shellfish collectors in the Mid-Atlantic region. The series is called “Hooked on OA” and invited Hannes on this February Thursday to explain the state of OA science particularly for fishes. A big thanks to the organizers and the more than 50 people who participated in this webinar.

HookedonOA


If you missed it and are still interested, you can watch the Zoom webinar here:

[Lab news] Hannes & colleagues organize a Virtual Town Hall

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23 June 2020. It’s been a remarkable day. A remarkable few months of preparation. But on this Tuesday in June, more than 250 people from all over the world logged in to a UConn WebEx Event organized by Hannes Baumann, Eric Schultz, Jacqueline Webb, Paul Anderson and Jon Hare. The event, billed as the “1st Virtual Larval Fish Science Town Hall” was of course a product of the strange and challenging times we live in right now. A consequence of almost a year of painstaking preparations for the 44th Larval Fish Conference in Mystic, CT … eclipsed by the COVID-19 pandemic that made having a physical science conference impossible.


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Number of attendees per minute throughout the day. Science sessions were followed by 120-170 attendees worldwide.
Network Mentors

The Virtual Town Hall gave 16 speakers from around the world the opportunity to communicate their science, while providing a forum for the community to interact. The Early Career Committee of the AFS Early Life History Section contributed as well, organizing a round table discussion led by Kelsey Swieca with Chris Chambers, Jackie Webb, and Peter Konstantidinis. Individual networking meetings – although hobbled initially by technology – were held after the meeting between senior and early career researchers.

And best of all – more than 40 people participated in a picture contest, contributing stunning images of larval fish or larval fish science.

For more information, speaker bios’s, talk titles, abstracts and even some video please visit the event website lfc44.uconn.edu


Some of our personal favorites among the best larval fish picture submissions

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Mike Bartick | Ribbon fish
A32---Meldonian---Cyclopsetta-fimbriata-7-8-19-9932-final
Irene Middleton | A diver checks out a juvenile flying fish at the Poor Knights Islands in New Zealand
A32---Meldonian---Cyclopsetta-fimbriata-7-8-19-9932-final
Suzan Meldonian | Cyclopsetta fimbriata, photographed in situ along Gulf Stream Current, SE Florida
A25---Parkinson--29354-004-Molidae-A
Winner – Kerryn Parkinson | Mola sp – a larval sunfish collected off New South Wales, Australia.
A23---Monteiro---Tilefish_CNamiki
Gabriel Monteiro | Caulolatilus chrysops larvae cleared and stained. This specimen belongs to ColBIO USP biological collection.
A15---Walsh---larval-Bothus_20170615_photo-by-Har
Harvey Walsh | Bothus larvae sorted at sea from a bongo net tow collected during the summer of 2017 aboard the NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter.
A10---Murray---Pacific-Herring-embryo
Chris Murray | Wild Pacific herring spawn from Skagit Bay, WA (~72 h old). Note the flat edge of the egg where it was adhered to sea grass.
A05---Grande-H.-Acanthurus-coeruleus
Henrique Grande | Post-larval reef fish Acanthurus coeruleus Bloch & Schneider, 1801 collected in 2015 using light traps in the Bay of Tamandaré, Brazil.

[Presentation] Callie presents research at the Graduate Climate Conference

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Callie presenting her poster to other graduate students
November 8, 2019. Callie Concannon joined other graduate students of the Department of Marine Sciences to present her thesis research at the Graduate Climate Conference in Woods Hole, MA. She presented a poster entitled “Long-term CO2 and temperature effects on fecundity and oocyte recruitment in the Atlantic silverside
Her preliminary findings can be summarized as:

Warmer, more acidic environments impact reproductive output in the Atlantic silverside


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The participants of the Graduate Climate Change conference in November 2019

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[Lab news] Hannes, Chris and Emma at the 43rd Larval Fish Conference!

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Chris, Hannes, and Emma

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Beautiful view from Mallorca’s most northern point, Cap Formentor

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Peter Gronkjaer, Dominique Robert, Arild Folkvord, Hannes during the conference tour
25 May 2019. Hannes, Chris and Emma attended this years 43rd Annual Larval Fish Conference in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. The event was hosted by IMEDEA’s Ignacio Catalan and colleagues and was attended by more than 140 participants. As usual, the small but international make-up of the meeting and made it into a memorable event of science, networking and seed for potential future collaborations. While Chris reported on our past experiments on factorial CO2 by O2 effects on Atlantic silverside early life stages, Emma presented the latest findings on our silverside experiments using computer-controlled CO2 and O2 co-fluctuations.

Before and after the conference, there was also some time to explore the beautiful island of Mallorca with its breathtaking mountain scenery and turquoise coves.


Chris and Emma’s presented:

  • Murray, C.S., Cross, E.L., and Baumann H. A factorial evaluation of the combined effects of acidification and hypoxia in Atlantic silverside offspring. Talk.
  • Cross, E.L., Murray, C.S. and Baumann H.Diel and tidal cycles of CO2 and dissolved oxygen conditions provide physiological refuge to a coastal forage fish, Menidia menidia under acidification and hypoxia. Talk.

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A special thanks to Lucas and Callie for holding the fort at home!

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Cala des Moro

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Martha Moyano and Hannes
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Valdemossa

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Cap Formentor

[Lab news] Chris defends his dissertation!

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Chris smiling after his committee congratulated him on his dissertation defense (f.l.t.r: Chris Chamber, Chris Gobler (via Skype), Eric Schultz, Hans Dam, Chris Murray)
6 December 2018. Today, the whole Baumann lab is congratulating Chris Murray today on his great day of defending his PhD. Chris presented the essence of his research on climate change effects on coastal marine fish to a packed audience in the seminar room, fielded an array of questions, and showed his deep knowledge of the subject during the subsequent discussion with his committee.
Well done, Dr. Murray! We are all so very proud of you!

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The bubbly is opened in the Rankin Lab in true experimenter fashion!
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Chris Murray and Chris Chambers in front of the sand lance tank in the Rankin Lab

[Lab news] Baumann and Dam labs at the Gordon Research Conference

GRC2018


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The beautiful venue of the Waterville Valley Hotel in New Hampshire

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Hannes introduced the Ocean Variability Hypothesis

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Phil Munday and Hannes chatting along the beautiful hike of Cascade Path
19 July 2018. Members of the Baumann and Dam labs cherished the opportunity to participate in the Ocean Global Change Biology Gordon Research Conference in Waterville Valley, NH.

The particularly intimate format of the Gordon Research Conference was wonderfully conducive to listening to groundbreaking science in form of keynote lectures and posters and to network with colleagues from all over the world. While Hannes gave a keynote lecture about experimental progress in assessing fish sensitivity to marine climate change, Chris, Emma, Jimmy and Hans presented their research all throughout the week during the poster sessions. The beautiful setting of the conference in New Hampshire’s White Mountains and the relaxed atmosphere were all contributing to one of the most unique conference experiences all year.


Talks and posters presented:

  • Baumann H. Using experiments to assess the sensitivity of fish to marine climate change: progress and knowledge gaps. Invited keynote talk.
  • Murray, C.S., Wiley, D., and Baumann H. Sand lance offspring (Ammodytes dubius) show high sensitivity to combined climate stressors. Poster.
  • Cross, E.L., Peck, L., and Harper, E. Brachiopod resilience: thicker shells offset dissolution under future ocean acidification and warming. Poster.
  • Dam, H.G., DeMayo, J.A., Park, G., He, X., Finiguerra, M., Baumann H., and Pespeni, M. Rapid adaptation of a marine copepod to a greenhouse world. Poster.
  • DeMayo, J.A., Park, G., Norton, L., Finiguerra, M., Baumann H., and Dam, H.G. Costs of adaptation to a greenhouse world for the copepod, Acartia tonsa. Poster.

GRC-posters


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The Baumann & Dam lab at the GRC hike
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