By Lucas Jones.
November 26, 2023. Members of the Sand lance Mafia assembled onboard the F/V Miss Emily in hopes of finding spawning ripe fish for our 2023 experiment. After loading our gear, Captain Kevin navigated us towards the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank and deployed our beam trawl for our first 10-minute tow.
Boom! From the first tow, fish in spawning condition were brought on board, counted and separated by sex. Now, we just needed to repeat this for 13 more trawls until we had a sufficient amount of fish to start the experiment. After collecting 40+ spawning ripe males and females, we headed back to port wile starting to strip-spawn. This is an all hands on deck process, where we need to work together to evaluate the fish in real time and use the most ripe fish available.
The successful strip-spawn event now marks the start of our most ambitious experiment to date, where DNA and RNA samples will help us further investigate potential mechanisms behind the sand lances high CO2 sensitivity.