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Good morning everyone. Today we are highlighting Lacey Malarky! She is another one of our DEEPEND graduate students. On board the R/V Point Sur cruise we had five graduate students. A graduate student is a college student who is working to earn a Masters or Doctoral degree. Lacey grew up in Kansas and moved to Florida to continue studying.
Ms.Malarky is a graduate student at Nova Southeastern University working on her Masters degree. She is interested in the amount of larval (or baby) flatfishes in the Gulf of Mexico. While flatfishes are usually found in coastal areas, or the transitions areas between land and sea, baby flatfish develop in offshore surface waters.
Larval (baby) Flatfish
Lacey helped the DEEPEND science team on this last cruise by keeping count and measuring all the fish that were collected. She also took charge of collecting and organizing all the data the team collected.
If you have any questions for Ms.Malarky leave them in the comments! Talk soon!
Our team wrapped up their last night on Friday, August 21st at 5pm. They celebrated by having dinner together and talked about the amazing experiences they have shared these last three weeks. After dinner they watched their last sunset on the R.V. Point Sur for the year. Once the sun completely disappeared the team took advantage of the clear night sky and watched the stars and constellations.
Here is the team!
Pictured here is Dr.Heather Judkins (right) and our Teacher at Sea, Alisha Stahl.
Although this research cruise has come to an end we have plenty of things to talk about! The scientists have learned a lot on this trip and will continue to sort through their data once they've arrived in their own labs. Make sure to come back as we continue to bring their discoveries to you. Until tomorrow!
It's not always smooth sailing out in the Gulf of Mexico. This is a waterspout; in the photos moving left to right you can see how it formed and how it ended. Although some of these can be dangerous, this one did not do any damage to our team out at sea. Whew!
The weather didn't stop our team from using the MONESS nets! Take a look at some of the catch.
Can you believe that both photos are of Bobtail Squid? Both of these are adults and this is as big as they grow!
The MOCNESS nets also brought up another type of Dragonfish (Idiacanthus fasciola). This Dragonfish is a female. Males don't get the barbel and bioluminescent bulb hanging off of their chins. Can you see the bioluminescent photophores on her sides? Those spots glow in the dark and most likely help these fish recognize the same species and the opposite sex. The bulb at the end of her barbel glows to attract her food. The barbel is attached to her chin, see?
That's all for today! Comment below if you have any questions. We hope to hear from you!
Let's take a look at these fish the MOCNESS nets brought up! This deep water fish is usually found between 1,460m and 3,500m. This is a juvenile, or not yet an adult. If you look closely it's almost like they don't have eyes. These fish actually have what remains of photoreceptive tissue, so instead of having eyes like we do, their eyes are beneath their bones. The "eyes" have no lenses but they can detect light. Can you picture it? It's like when you close your eyes on a really sunny day. You can still "see" some of the light, right? Try it next time you're outside.
Here is another fish with different eyes! This deep water fish has eyes that face towards the surface of the water and are adapted to see faint light or to key in on bioluminescence. We've talked about bioluminescence before, do you remember?
Leave a comment below If you have any questions for our scientists! Until next time!
The scientists have been pulling up some really neat animals! Here we have a Orangeback flying Squid! This species can jump out of the water and glide, just like flying fishes! How exciting!
The scientist have also collected a few different species of shrimp! In this photo we have a shrimp "in berry" which means she is keeping her eggs underneath her tail. In the top left corner you can take a closer look at her tail! On the bottom right is a photo of scientists Dante Fenolio holding this beautiful shrimp!
The photo above is a larval shrimp, or a young shrimp, that has not reached the adult life stage.
Exciting news! Another cruise is scheduled to set sail on Friday August 7th! Scientists are traveling from all around the United States to meet in Gulfport, Mississippi. Some of the scientists are traveling a long distance to join the cruise. When all the scientists arrive in Mississippi they will work together to load equipment onto the R/V Point Sur. The cruise will be at sea for three weeks. Stay tuned for updates from the scientists and Squirt!
Squirt here to talk about fish!
There are five stages in the life cycle of a fish. Fish begin as an egg, just like you did. Then as the fish grows and develops, it become larval fish. During this stage the fish lives off of a yolk sac. The larval stage of a fish is similar to the human fetal stage when you were growing inside your mom. Take a look at this anglerfish in the larval stage.
When a fish starts eating on its own it enters the fry stage. In humans this would be the child stage. As a fry continues to develop it then enters the juvenile stage. During the juvenile stage, the fish matures reproductively. Humans undergo this stage during their teenage years. The last stage of development in fish in the adult stage. In the adult stage, fish are capable of reproducing to create their own offspring (or children). Humans also have an adult stage, for example your mom and dad are adults.
Just like human boys and girls are different, so are many fish! This is known as sexual dimorphism where the different genders (or sexes) look different. Male anglerfish are much smaller than female fish. Also, only female anglerfish have the bioluminescent lure. Check out the images below!
See you next time!
Another DEEPEND cruise went out to sea! This time a different ship, the Blazing Seven, set sail on June 5th for a collecting trip! I hear the scientists woke up at 3 o'clock in the early morning to start their adventure.
The scientists on the Blazing Seven are working together to better understand the ocean ecosystem. Some of the scientists onboard are researching the eggs and larvae of fishes while others are researching the ocean food web.
Throughout their time at sea the scientists on the Blazing Seven used neuston, ring, and bongo nets to sample the water. These nets are similar to the MOCNESS nets we talked about in an earlier blog post, except the neuston and ring nets only use one net instead of five. The bongo nets are two side by side nets and look like the picture below. The scientists on this cruise were not sampling as deep as on the R/V Point Sur cruise. The Blazing Seven scientists are sampling at 100 and 500 meters. That's about as deep as the Statue of Liberty in New York is tall (93 meters) and the Taipei 101 in Taiwan is tall (509 meters).
Their first catches included several lanternfish (in the family Myctophidae), deepwater shrimp, and many kinds of fish larvae. The scientists have also seen a lot of Sargassum, a brown seaweed. Check out the juvenile flying fish.
I'm excited to hear and see what the scientists find next!
Hi everyone! The last few weeks we have seen many neat animals that were caught in the MOCNESS nets. Today I would like to show you how the scientists store and care for the MOCNESS nets, which are made by Bobbie Seigler at the Sea-Gear Corporation in Florida.
The MOCNESS nets are stored in a large open container for the drive to and from the ship. The big container reminds me of a toy box! When the scientists arrive at the ship they assemble the frames. Then the scientists drop the nets into the water. Check out the MOCNESS nets in action!
During the cruise, the scientists clean the nets by spraying them down with water. As the scientists sprays down the net they also check for rips or holes. If a net is damaged, the scientists replace the net so the animals do not escape.
At the end of the cruise, the scientists disassemble the frames so they can take the nets back to Florida. Once in Florida, the nets are given a really good cleaning. Then, the nets are left out to dry before they are stored until the next cruise. Just like you and me, the scientists have to clean up their toys!
I'm glad we learned more about the MOCNESS nets because they are so important for the DEEPEND scientists! Until next time.
Hi Everyone! Squirt here! Are you ready to learn some more about bioluminescence and the amazing Dragonfish?
Bioluminescence means “living light” and is the light produced by a living organism due to a chemical reaction. A chemical reaction is a change in structure or energy of compounds. In bioluminescence, chemical energy is converted into light and heat. The light is what causes the glowing we see. What is amazing about bioluminescence is that almost all of the energy is converted into light rather than heat! This is in contrast to what happens when you turn on a lamp where most of the energy is converted to heat rather than light.
In nature, bioluminescent organisms produce light in a variety of colors from violet to red to green to blue. It’s estimated that 90% of all animals in the twilight depths of the ocean (200 – 1000 meters) are bioluminescent, including some of my squid cousins! Other types of organisms that are bioluminescent in the ocean, including jellyfish, bacteria, and fishes. Many of these organisms emit blue-green light, as these colors are the most easily visible in the deep ocean .
Remember the Dragonfish the DEEPEND scientists caught in the MOCNESS nets? We saw all of its teeth and the barbel hanging down from its chin. The barbel glows as chemical energy is changed into light energy. As the barbel glows the Dragonfish can use it to attract food. I would find a glowing object interesting enough to see what it is, wouldn't you? Yikes, I guess I would be someone's food!
Scientist Dante took some more pictures. Let's take a more detailed look at them! Look at the beautiful color and texture of the Dragonfish’s skin. It kind of looks like goosebumps! The Dragonfish also has photophores. Photophores are organs that produce light.
If you look closely here you can see red photophores that are near the eye of the fish. These photophores only emit red light. This is important because very few animals can see red light deep in the ocean. But, the Dragonfish can see this red light and he can use the light to hunt for food.
The Dragonfish also has feathery gills. Check them out! They remind me of bird feathers! We can also see more photophores. Notice how they seem to be everywhere on the fish. Dragonfishes may use photophores on their sides and even their tails to recognize other individuals of the same species, even the opposite sex, in the dark. They might also be used to confuse predators. Or maybe they use them to send secret messages to other fish!