Sweden: mark recapture

This has been a good long week of collecting pipefish. We had 2 weeks of gorgeous weather, and today our luck finally ran out. It’s nearly impossible to collect pipefish with our trawl when the wind is blowing too strongly. We’ve collected and marked hundreds of pipefish, and also collected a couple hundred to keep in the lab for experiments. It’s been a lot of work (one day we tagged 200 fish, which took about 6 hours), but it’s really rewarding and we’ve collected a lot of good data. Yesterday was another long day, because we also caught fish to process for a study to compare fat content in pregnant and non-pregnant males.

So, how do we collect the pipefish exactly? We go out in a little boat and to the field site, pull a trawl behind the boat, and after about 10 minutes of trawling we pull up the net, empty it into a bucket, and sort through the algae, grass, and fish until we find what we want. Those fish go into buckets, which we end up putting in coolers to transport back to the lab.

our sampling boat

our sampling boat

pulling up the trawl

pulling up the trawl

Collecting fish can be really fun, and it’s cool to see some of the things we find! We’ve found a few large flounder.

we found a big flatfish!

we found a big flatfish!

So we’re taking a bit of a break today because the wind prevents the trawl from staying on the bottom of the ocean, where the pipefish hang out, plus it can be dangerous (especially when the waves are really large, like they are today).

Field station on a windy day

Field station on a windy day

What the field station looks like when it's good weather

What the field station looks like when it’s good weather

Hopefully the good weather will return so that we can finish our mark recapture study (we’ll be done when most of the males are pregnant–we’re at ~45% now). But in the meantime I get to catch up on blogs and emails and other things like that!

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