We wrapped up our training on aquatic invertebrates last week. We visited a coral hatchery, performed core samples on marine sediment, and used seines to collect shrimp and horseshoe crabs. Admittedly, many of the terminologies, anatomies, and concepts are new to me. I've learned a lot about the complexity of aquatic ecosystems, but I don't think a career on the sea is in my future. We also visited a landfill and wastewater treatment facility. This kind of stuff is more in my niche, as human waste production has a direct impact on environmental health and, in turn, public health. We also collected water samples from two different sites and tested for pH, salinity, and dissolved oxgen. I was excited to dust off my environmental health cap and use these skills again!
This week we transitioned to vertebrates, mainly fishes. Yes, more than one species of fish is appropriately referred to as "fishes." We got our water shoes wet and did a fish collection lab this morning. We used bag seines and recovered hundreds of animals ranging from bait fish to blue crabs and even a sting ray!
We placed the desirable animals in aerated tubs and brought them back to the laboratory for gill/fin biopsies, skin scrapes, and physical exams.