Monday, October 24, 2011

The Flint Last Weekend

Last Sunday, Oct. 16, we went out to our regular spot on the Flint to catch silver shiners and blotched chubs. We found the chubs easily enough, but we only found one silver shiner. So, hopefully this Sunday, we're going to explore some new spots downstream on the chance that the silver shiners are more common there, as well as just to find new legal, easy access point. Below are Josh and Robert transferring captured fish into our first jar with very dilute formaldehyde.

Here's a view downstream, it was a beautiful sunny day in the 70s F. I suspect that this was our last trip for the season without waders.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Manuscript Fun, And DNA Ready To Be Sequenced

I submitted our manuscript on driftnet observations in Estill Fork to the journal Hydrobiologia, and they responded with a polite decline. The editor stated a rather odd reason for the decline; that the work suffered from "low taxonomic resolution". We identified and analyzed the collections to taxonomic Order, as has been done in about every other even vaguely similar research project including many in Hydrobiologia. I thought about arguing the point with the editor, but I don't have time to waste exchanging pleasantries with this dude. So, I resubmitted it to Southeastern Naturalist. Hopefully they won't have any similar bouts of cognitive dissonance.

The 81 DNA extractions that I have from various Fundulus fish are now ready to go to Lance's new company, Oblique Genomics, for sequencing. He's going to pick them up tomorrow morning. I've never had a DNA service company offer to do a pick-up. If they all work, I have a lot of work ahead with massaging the sequences and making sense of them within the several projects represented.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Soon Come...

I think I have a complete set of Telogia Fundulus DNA extractions ready to have sequenced. This includes known F. lineolatus and F. notti, the species to the east and west of this location. Assuming that all goes well, then I'll have to do the editing on the raw sequences so we'll have all 1140 bases in the cyt-b gene and plug it into Mr. Bayes for treebuilding.

On a paraellel track, I think I've figured out what I want to do in Panama next May on my return trip. The Smithsonian has a small field station in the Fortuna Protected Area in Chiriqui Province near the Costa Rican border, up in the cloud forest at 1100 m elevation just on the Pacific side of the continental divide. At that elevation the weather is like a North American spring, rarely hot and with lots of rain. My plan is to work the drainage system of the Rio Chiriqui that starts there looking for Brachyrhaphis populations and ultimately their parasites. I also hope to visit the other side of the divide in Bocas del Toro province, draining to the Caribbean. The point of this work would be to assess both host population and species patterns, and look at the parasites which usually coevolve with the host. So we might only spend three days in Panama City this time before heading way to the west. This all has to be approved by the Smithsonian, of course, but I think they'll like it. This time I already have a Perfect Dipnet and the relevant vaccinations, so the preparation should be easier. Y en espanol: aun falta mucho.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Last Driftnetting At The Flint Last Sunday

It's only taken a week, but here are some photos from last Sunday's trip to the Flint River. This was our last driftnetting session for this project, we now have a full year's worth of collections from last October. We also were interested in netting more silver shiners and blotched chubs. The driftnetting went well, with fairly low water. But it was a lot harder this time with the silver shiners; we only caught 11, half of them by Josh with a cast net. And we also netted 18 blotched chubs, along with 1 bigeye chub that we kept by mistake.

This first photo is of Josh watching Jeremy and Kelly cross the river to pick up some gear we'd left there as we prepared to leave. Even in low water it's a challenge to walk across the broken bedrock.

Here's a view of Josh with downstream behind, down to the old bridge supports. The best place to catch silver shiners is along the far bank in the medium distance.

And of course, a view of the Winchester Road bridge as a standard for gauging river height and flow. The river was just about at the median height and flow for the date over 12 years, according to the USGS online river monitor.