Friday, July 19, 2013

It was about time

It was about time I made a new post in my now outdated blog. Who would have thought? When you are doing a PhD in marine science you are actually quite busy.

So my last trip took me into remote NW Australia, where myself and volunteers Sam and Troy embarked on a 20 day adventure to look at the northern limit of baldchin groper's distribution. The baldchin groper (Choerodon rubescens) is an endemic wrasse to the southern half of Western Australia, and a big focus of my PhD studies. It is one of the big wrasses in the world, next to species like the California Sheephead and the Maori wrasse. They are tasty, cool to watch, popular with divers, and really interesting because of their limited distribution and the implications this has for their conservation. Especially when climate is changing, waters warming, and fish species migrating down the coast.

Here I share one of my favorite experiences on the trip, a session of fish dissecting with the resident kids at Red Bluff, Quobba Station. After getting used to a bit of fish smell, the gang was right into it, helping measure, get fin clips for genetic studies and ear bones for growth estimation.

Measuring total length to be able to match with age of a fish

Getting Coral's help to cut a fin clip for genetic studies

Extracting otoliths, the earbones of a fish that hold the secret to their age

Having a chat about what fish science is all about

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