Long Island Collecting Log: The next wave has arrived

Todd GardnerBy Todd Gardner 4 years agoNo Comments
Home  /  Conservation  /  Long Island Collecting Log: The next wave has arrived

Spotfin and tangsLast week I reported on the arrival of the first tropical fishes of the year to appear in Long Island waters after a seining trip at Fire Island inlet turned up a filefish, groupers, and northern sennets. This week I am happy to announce that the next wave has arrived. Yesterday I accompanied a group of aquarists from the Long Island Aquarium on their first collecting trip of the season, on the north side of Shinnecock Bay. In addition to most of the same species from last week’s trip, we also encountered, ahead of schedule, what appears to be the next wave of tropicals: at least 20 spotfin butterflyfish and two post-larval tangs. The tangs are probably doctorfish (Acanthurus chirurgus), but it’s too early to say. The catch also included silversides, northern pipefish, two species of flounder, hundreds of tiny sea robins, seaboard gobies, baby bluefish, and our two native temperate wrasses, the cunner and tautog.

The water was thick with lion’s mane jellies, one of the worst stingers around, so one intern was appointed to jelly duty, responsible for scooping jellies out of the path of the seine using a dip net. A large jelly in the net can do considerable damage to your catch. They can also give you a nasty sting, which is why I always keep a bottle of white vinegar in my car this time of year. The acid in the vinegar denatures the proteins in the Jelly’s venom and provides instant relief from the sting (yes, even better than having someone pee on you).

Inspired by our catch, I proceeded to Shinnecock Inlet after seining to see what else might turn up. I was thrilled to see multiple leatherback turtles in and around the inlet, a sure sign of tropical water. Hopefully they were feeding on some of those jellies. Altough I had a lot of work to do back at my lab, I couldn’t resist putting on my dive gear and jumping in the water. I didn’t get close to any leatherbacks, and the incoming ocean water was much colder than our seining site, but I did get a look at some cool local marine life. Check back Monday for video highlights.

A post-larval grouper from Shinnecock Bay

A post-larval grouper from Shinnecock Bay

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  Conservation, DIY, Fish, Science, Sustainability, Too Cute
Todd Gardner
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 Todd Gardner

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Todd Gardner is a professor of marine biology at Suffolk County Community College in Riverhead, NY. His life and his career have both been shaped by his passion for marine life and he has written numerous scientific and popular articles about his research and experiences collecting, keeping, and culturing marine organisms. Todd’s professional background includes work on a National Geographic documentary, commercial aquaculture at C-quest Hatchery in Puerto Rico, and an 11-year term at the Long Island Aquarium where he spent much of his time developing techniques for rearing marine fish larvae. To date he has raised more than 50 species. In 2013 Todd received the prestigious Aquarist of the Year Award from the Marine Aquarium Society of North America (MASNA). In his spare time, Todd dives, photographs marine life, runs marathons, and plays in a blues band.

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