Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Climate Change and Florida's Fishes

We've all heard about many of the potential impacts of climate change, such as the polar bears losing their habitat or the melting of the polar ice. But what will climate change mean closer to home? How will it impact our marine habitats and the fish that live there? Check out this video for an overview:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Conservation Conversation- Behind the scenes at B.A.S.S. tournaments

    As graduate students, we are afforded opportunities to work and collaborate with a range of people in fisheries and conservation sciences. In one of those instances, we had the pleasure of having dinner with Bass Anglers Sportsman Society’s (B.A.S.S.) own Noreen Clough (the recently retired B.A.S.S. conservation director and a former US Fish and Wildlife Service regional director). Over dinner we discussed the pros and cons of tournament fishing. Coming from B.A.S.S., Noreen told us why black bass conservation mattered so much to bass fishing organizations.

Figure 1 - Sportfishing for largemouth bass

    B.A.S.S. annually sponsors dozens of bass fishing tournaments nationwide. These include large opens like the 2013 Southern Open, a three-day event hosted at Lake Tohopekaliga, Florida. These Opens draw hundreds of amateur and professional anglers. For the first two days, each professional angler strives to catch their five-fish bag limit (the final day of fishing pits only the top-12 per class against each other). In the first two days of fishing up to 1,500 largemouth bass can be caught per day! To non-tournament anglers, these intensive collection events can be alarming. “Aren’t you killing or harming all those fish?” is a question that might be asked. To help answer this question and cast more scientific eyes towards these tournaments, Noreen invited us down to watch fish-handling practices at the 2013 Southern Open.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Parasite Selfie: Cestode Pasta

Hi All! This is the first installment for my monthly column, “Parasite Selfies”, and I hope you find it both entertaining and informative. I am fascinated by the obsession with “selfies” on social media, so in keeping with this explosive trend and in an effort to combat all of those annoying car driving, bathroom taking, gym going, food eating, and “just because I’m awesome” selfies inundating the Internet, I thought a parasite selfie might just be the breath of fresh air that the rest of us non-selfie taking individuals need. Not to say that there is anything wrong with taking a selfie. If it makes you feel good, then hey man, by all means, do what makes you happy. However, for me, I feel like I need a selfie with a little more substance.

Since I am a biologist, I figured a selfie based on the work I do might just be the type of “selfie- with-substance” that I needed to jump on board with this trend. Hopefully you guys all find this as entertaining as I do, and enjoy reading my column. My plan is to take a selfie with a parasite of interest once a month, then enthrall you with some fascinating information on the life history of the organism and its effect on fishes, particularly in Florida. Enjoy and embrace the weirdness that is to follow!