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.
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.
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!
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!
All adult silversides used to produce new offspring are getting measured and preserved. (Photo: Peter Morenus, UConn)
Chris and Jake strip-spawning. (Photo: Peter Morenus, UConn)
The Baumann lab, June 2017: from left to right; Isaiah Mayo, Julie Pringle, Chris Murray, Elle Parks, Hannes Baumann, Jacob Snyder, James Harrington + "Bear". (Photo: Peter Morenus, UConn)
On 9 June 2017, members of the Baumann lab all help to start a new set of experiments in the Rankin Lab at UConn Avery Point. From left to right: Julie Pringle, Hannes Baumann, Elle Parks, Jacob Snyder, James Harrington, Isaiah Mayo, Chris Murray). (Photo: Peter Morenus, UConn)
Screens with enumerated embryos are suspended in each rearing container using fishing line. (Photo: Peter Morenus, UConn)
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)
Hydrated, ready to be fertilized eggs extrude from a running ripe female Atlantic silverside when putting gentle pressure on the abdomen. (Photo: Peter Morenus, UConn)
Chris Murray inspects a screen with newly fertilized Atlantic Silverside embryos, prior to starting a new set of experiments. (Photo: Peter Morenus, UConn)
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.
Andrew's Beach on Jekyll Island, GA, on 11 May 2017.
James Harrington carefully replacing water in the transport coolers for the fish. All fish survived the transport.
The daunting view of the road trip on 10 - 12 May 2017. 34h of driving and way too little sleep in just two days.
Adult silversides from Jekyll Island, GA, swimming in our holding tanks in the Rankin Lab at UConn
A newly hatched silverside larvae with a twist. It's a haploid specimen, produced by fertilizing eggs with UV-treated sperm.
The Jekyll crew Hannes, James, Nicholas, and Aryn (from left to right)
On the morning of 11 May 2017, our old beach seine is drying on the beach park of Jekyll Island, GA. After its last successful trip, the 9 year old gear has now been retired.
October 10th 2016 was a special day for our still young lab here at the University of Connecticut, Today, the ICES Journal of Marine Science published the paper of Chris Murray et al., which is the first of hopefully many publications of our experimental findings originating out of our new laboratory facility here at UConn Avery Point.
Chris and his co-authors report on a large-scale, quantitative rearing experiment on Atlantic silversides eggs, larvae and juveniles under contrasting CO2 conditions that took place between May – September 2015. This novel experiment was designed to address three critical issues lacking in previous ocean acidification research on fish. First, the study spanned several ontogenetic stages. Second, it used very large numbers of individuals to robustly characterize not just potential shifts in mean responses, but also changes in the distribution of length, weight, and condition factor. Third, it provided food at standardized, non-excess levels to prevent that potential metabolic costs of high CO2 exposure could be compensated by survivors simply by eating more food.
Overall the study demonstrated seemingly small but significant growth reductions due to high CO2 and identified a small number of fatty acids that were of significantly different concentrations in high vs. control juveniles.
Seasonal dynamics in Atlantic Silverside abundance, spawning, and offspring sensitivity to low pH and oxygen
The Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF) offers a summer stipend of up to $3,500 + $500 research. The Evolutionary Fish Ecology Lab offers a variety of suitable topics for undergraduates to work on.
Deadline for applications is January, 20th 2017.
On 19-20 July, our lab temporarily transformed into a genetics laboratory, as Nina Therkildsen and her post-doc Aryn Pierce Wilder visited us from Cornell University (Therkildsen Lab). Their lab also shares the fascination for the Atlantic silverside as a model organism and has set out to eventually assemble the fully annotated genome of this species.
During their visit, they could accompany us for our bi-weekly beach seining in Mumford Cove, where we collected juveniles born this year as well as the last few spawning ripe adults at the end of the season. It was a great summer morning and fun for everyone.
In the lab, Nina and Aryn went on dissecting different types of tissue (muscle, liver, spleen, gills, fins) from a few specimens destined for genetic analyses. In the Rankin lab, we tried a novel procedure on this species, i.e., making haploid embryos by fertilizing strip-spawned eggs with sperm that was UV-radiated before.
Thank you for visiting, Nina and Aryn, and we will see you back in fall, when Nina will give a Friday seminar on 11 November 2016. We’re looking forward to what she will have to report!
Chris and Aryn prepare to take the beach seine to the water
Juvenile and adult silverside captured by beach seine in Mumford Cove on 19 July 2016
Some eggs could be fertilized with sperm that was UV-radiated before in order to make haploid embryos
Aryn has clearly fun beach seining
On 20 July 2016, Aryn prepares samples of silverside tissues for genetic analyses
On 19 July 2016, Nina dissects different tissues from adult silvesides for genetic analyses
On 19 July 2016, Nina and Hannes pull the first of two seines in Mumford Cove
Hannes placing a bucket with water to collect silversides live
A careful squeeze of a silversides belly reveals whether a male or female is in spawning condition
Atlantic silversides from Mumford Cover swimming in a bucket
On 19 July 2016, our lab took Nina and Aryn beach seining (left to right: Chris, Aryn, Wes, Hannes)
On 19 July 2016, Chris and Aryn pull the beach seine ashore, while Wes and Hannes prepare for retrieving the bag
On a balmy July 1st the lab returned to Mumford Cove excited at the prospect of seining without dawning waders for the first time this year! Chris and Rafeed conducted the first seine while Jake remained on the beach and photographed the experience. On the second seine, Hannes accompanied Rafeed while Chris weighed the first sample. As expected the species richness and diversity of the seines were less than that of previous excursions. The abundance of silversides was down, while their sex ratio was skewed towards females. Despite a decline in mature silversides, several juveniles were caught, indicating a budding cohort. Perhaps more young silversides will find their way into the lab’s net in the future. Only time will tell!
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.