Dissecticon! – Gulf Oil Spill Research at Gustavus Posted on December 9th, 2010 by

I would like to thank the nearly 20 students who turned out over two days to help dissect fish from the oil spill areas of the Gulf of Mexico.  Environmental Studies students, Biology students and others took tissue samples from nearly 400 specimens.  You guys are wonderful for helping out!

I have partnered with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s research vessel Oregon II, a ship that surveys the diversity and health of the marine environment in the Gulf of Mexico from Veracruz, Mexico to Miami, Florida.  I received hundreds of fish taken in scientific net surveys, and am interested in seeing if genetic diversity in these bottom fish changes depending upon the animals’ proximity to the oil disaster of the DeepWater Horizon.

Usually scientists who have an idea just hope that they can get enough samples to begin a project, and hope that they might be able to finish it.  Imagine my surprise this Thanksgiving when I received several coolers packed with whole frozen fish!  Thus, I invited our students to help take samples of tissue from the animals, and in the upcoming months I hope to find out more about how they lived and (most importantly) what impacts the Gulf spill may have had on their lives.

So thank you to all of the students, staff and faculty who turned out for “Dissecticon.”  I couldn’t have processed the samples without you!

PS – If you wish to become involved in this research, please feel free to email me.

PPS – Dissecticon, with its rhyming Transformers reference, won out over the other choice of name for the event: “Fishapalooza.”  Better names for events next year are welcome!


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