Thursday, 28 August 2008

All hands on deck!

It has been an eventful day! First, all the whale sightings and the completion of our first environmental sampling line, and just after sunset the first trawl comes on deck. Everyone is on the trawl deck to assist. What is hidden in the deep here on the south coast of Madagascar? The last survey in Madagascar with the Dr. Fridtjof Nansen was in 1983 and few, if any, international surveys have turned their head this way since then. So the excitement is understandable, no one knows exactly what to expect and the catch is carefully taken care of. Everything is counted and carefully identified. Rare species are stored for further analyses in onshore laboratories and tissue samples are taken for genetic analyses. The goal of the trawl sampling is together with hydro acoustic recordings to establish the productivity, biodiversity and biomass of the pelagic ecosystem.

Particularly the species identification may be a challenge and in this trawl one species in particular gave everyone a hard time. What species is this? The discussion goes on below in the fish lab where James Stapley and Jessica Escobar is paging through index keys while I write this.

Comments:
Many thanks for your post, Jens!

The fish we were trying to key out there was the little juvenile barracuda I was discussing in the post below this one. Still not sure which of two species it is!
 
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