Posted on August 2, 2010 | Permalink
Intern Log for Week Ending July 31
Diamond Jim Tagging
Round Three of the Diamond Jim tagging went great last Thursday! This time around, I was on the Miss Linda, with Capt. Jim Gasch and a group of US war veterans. At first the fish didn't seem to be hungry, until about 11:00 when we really started to get on them. I have never witnessed breaking fish as much as we saw on Thursday. It seemed to be that everywhere you looked, fish were breaking. We got our 20 fish tagged before lunchtime, so that left the rest of the day to catch fish for keeps. The law is that everyone on the boat is allowed 2 fish a piece, we reached that quota as well. Our biologist Don Cosden did a fantastic job tagging, and handling the fish, as well as Capt. Jim putting us on the fish. Great day for the vets and everyone on onboard!
Friday I accompanied Chris Judy who works with the shellfish program(Oysters). The goal for the day was to pick up oyster cages from the inmates at the Correction Facility, and deliver them to the UMD Environmental Science Research Center. We delivered about 200 or so. The purpose of these cages is for the Marylanders Grow Oysters(MGO), where hundreds of waterfront property owners are growing millions of young oysters in cages suspended from private piers. They load the cages up with oyster shells that have spat on them and grow them for a period of time. This project was initiated by Governor Martin O'Malley in 2008, and since then this project continues to grow. Currently, there are 5,265 oyster cages in Maryland Waters.
The three pictures below right show some of the equipment involved, including the settling tanks where the spat settle onto the shell before being deployed
Posted on July 23, 2010 | Permalink
Interns Log for Week Ending July 23
Location: Western and Central Maryland
It was quite the week, full of electroshocking! On Wednesday we (Ryan Gary and I) headed out to a site on the Patapsco River to participate with the Maryland Biological Stream Survey Team (MBSS), they catalog all living organisms with Maryland streams, among other task). When we arrived at the site, we noticed the water was fairly turbid. We found out that the site we were at had gotten rain the night before. Of course it was the only place that it had stormed. So we packed up and headed to a different site upstream, however it was the same circumstances. There was too much sediment in the water, so it would be rather difficult to see the fish as we shocked the water. We ended up calling it a day and hoped that in 24 hours the water would be less turbid. Turns out they were right! Thursday we headed to the site early in the morning, unloaded all of the gear, and suited up in our waders. We did two passes of 75m in length. We had about 10 anodes in the water. Throughout the two passes at that site we got an amense amount of fish, and eels. To the MBSS people, it was just another day in the field, but I've got to say I was very impressed to see how much we actually shocked up. After we got through the second pass for that site, we packed up and headed to Patapsco State Park, another one of MBSS many sites. This site was little more calmer, in the sense that we didn't have any high flow riffles to trek through. Since it was a State Park, we had our share of spectators. It was a fantastic day, and I really learned a lot. Just observing while they sorted through all of the fish and collected their data really helped me learn species of fish, crayfish, and eels. I would have to say it was a very successful day, and a fun one on that note!
The below pictures are from our work surveying the Savage River earlier in the week, we worked with the Western Region Inland Fisheries Manager, Al Klotz, and many other biologist from the Fisheries Service.
Posted on July 01, 2010 | Permalink
Internship Log - Week ending July 2, 2010
Invasive Species Removal - Water Chestnut
This week was one of the more labor intensive weeks, but none-the-less a great turn-out. Monday started off at the crack of dawn. We were headed to the Sassafras river to help eradicate an invasive species known as Water Chestnut. For those who don't know, Water Chestnut is an annual aquatic plant with a submerged flexuous stem that anchors into the mud and extends upward to the surface of the water. It has saw-tooth edged leaves that are triangular in shape and connect to an inflated petiole, which provides added buoyancy for the leafy portion of the plant. The plant itself grows so extensively that it prevents the sun's rays from reaching the very important bay grasses. We scanned the spots where people reported sightings of this species and only pulled a couple of plants. However, on the way back to the boat launch, me and my fellow intern Ryan Gary, were on the waverunner and decided to check one of the last coves. Needless to say, there was quite a bit of it. Our team of two boats and one waverunner knocked out the cove in about 2 1/2 hours. It was said that we pulled up over 120 bushels of the Water Chestnut, so overall it was a great day!
Tagging Striped Bass
Tuesday was a big day for DNR, marking the second day of tagging for the Diamond Jim Fishing Challenge. Each month until September, one fish will be predetermined to be the official Diamond Jim worth as much as $25,000 to the angler who catches him. The other tagged “imposter” fish are worth $500 each. This year, as many as 600 fish will be tagged and released representing more than $300,000 in potential cash winnings. On tuesday, all of the boats combined tagged 154 fish, bringing the total to over 320 fish for both rounds. The fish weren't biting as well as they have been but the captains still pulled through.
Water Chestnut Removal - Round 2
On Wednesday, we were back to the Water Chestnut's! This time, we were on the Bird River, but on canoes. Our team for this day consisted of 4 canoes, and 1 boat. The canoes were needed in order to get back into the shallow waters that the boat could not reach. We did pull up some plants, however it was not nearly as much as we got on the Sassafras. It's a great thing that were out there doing this, as our goal is to preserve as much as we can.
Aging Largemouth Bass
I had an excellent, solid week in the field! To conclude the week, Ryan and I took a trip to the Manning Hatchery. Here we were working with otoliths, which are hard structures located behind the fish's brain. They aid the fish in balance, and hearing, just like humans. Here we were using the otoliths to age the fish, and to help determine growth studies. The process of aging a fish using an Otolith is very interesting. First, you have to break the otolith in half. Once you have a half that you are satisfied with, you move to the sanding process. Wet sanding allows you to smooth the side of the otolith that is going to be presented under the microscope. After you have wet sanded the half of the otolith, you move it under the microscope, into a petri dish with clay; to help support the bone. The microscope has a camera hooked up to a computer, where you take a picuture of the otolith, in order to determine the age. The next process is actually determining the age of the fish. The fish grow the fastest during the warmer seasons, and slower during winter. The darker, "translucent" zone represents a period of fast growth. The whiter area, or "opaque zone" represents a period of slower growth. So essentially, the age of the fish is determined by counting the annuli, or opaque bands that represent slower growth(winter's). Once again, it had to be one of the most interesting activities I've taken part in.
Posted on June 24, 2010 | Permalink
Tagging 10,000 Bass Fingerlings
Location: Manning Hatchery
Yesterday I was asked to take a trip to the Manning Hatchery, to help tag 10,000 largemouth bass. Of course being an intern, there was no hesitation in my eyes. What a day it turned out to be. We worked all day tagging the fish. The tagging was done by a machine with a little needle. First, the fish would be placed in an air-filtered bin with a chemical called TRICAINE. The chemical basically served as an anesthesia, just slowing them down, and not harming the fish. This gave the people who were tagging an easier time so that the fish wouldn't squirm around while trying to insert the tag. When you got the fish in your hand all that was left was to poke it with the needle, making sure it is not too close to the brain, or the spinal cord. Next, you press the button to insert the tag, and send it down through what they called the "fish waterslide" while the machine counts the fish that was just tagged. Everyone had a different hold on the fish as it is just personal preference, and what works best for you. It took me a few tries to get it down, but eventually I got the swing of it. Overall it was a great experience, as I learned quite a bit while I was there.