I had a fun weekend up in Fort Pierce looking for some killifish (without luck). We caught LOTS of other stuff, but the killifish remain elusive. My goal is to establish the local killifish (Fundulus sp) and trematode parasite (Euhaplorchis sp) as a study system comparable to the one I studied in California (which was a different Fundulus-Euhaplorchis system). From what I hear, killifish populations in these more southern Florida localities have diminished progressively for the last 20-30 years. Time to head even further north to Cape Canaveral to see if the system is just moving further north with time (potentially with effects of climate warming?). On the plus side, I caught heaps of other social fish species that I can use for my behavioral studies in schooling fish. Plus, it was great to just get back out in the field and test out the waters for my first post-MS field work. Generally, it went well but learned a lot about my new limits and strategies for managing my health while still doing what I love. Especially in the heat, I need to rest in the shade intermittently, drink lots of cold water, and make sure to get a lot of sleep before, during, and after fieldwork.
This year, I got to celebrate an early World Oceans Day at the Frost Science Museum in Miami. We got the 3D printer whirring to make a ton of fish magnets to give away to kids. And they were a hit! But for next year, hammerhead shark magnets have been requested too... ;) It was great to finally get involved in some local outreach (not to mention in 3D!) here in south Florida and hope it is the start of lots more to come!
Left photo credit: World Red Eye and Frost Science
Right photo credit: Lauren Nadler