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Journals 2003/2004

Deborah Field
South Windsor High School, South Windsor, Connecticut

"Age and Growth of Pelagic and Large Coastal Sharks Using Vertebral Growth Bands"
NOAA Fisheries- Narragansett Laboratory, Rhode Island
July 28 - August 8, 2003

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DAY 5: Friday August 1, 2003
Marine Fisheries

Came in today and got right to work on my recuts. It seems funny how easily this work comes to me now especially when I think that only 4 days ago I was struggling with it. Of the 20 recuts, 2 sections still aren't great. Specimen 485 is just such a small shark (this was the shark caught while I was present at the shark tournament). I photographed and measured my recuts, then started graphing. I plotted the vertebral number (location along the backbone) versus its radius. I haven't graphed on EXCEL in a long time, but I surprised myself by figuring it out on my own (after several false starts). Two of the graphs look really funky. Lisa took a look and didn't like how the data looked, but when she checked the sections, she said the measurements looked accurate. Lisa had trouble counting the bands on 484. She asked me to copy the pictures of sections 3, 11, 41, and 101 and assign them random letter labels. We saved the copies and she is going to send the photos to a colleague in California for a verification of band count. Several researchers are working on this. One researcher from New Zealand photographs sections but counts bands differently from Lisa. Sometimes the sections get mounted on a microscope slide and stained with hematoxylin which turns it olive -brown. This is interesting to me since I'm used to seeing slides stained with hematoxylin & eosin, which makes tissue a pink-purple. I thought the stained slides were much easier to read than the photos, but I understand that the photo method is way faster (based on my experience with histology - staining & mounting is a pain and these sections are very thick, so cover slipping must be a nightmare). Plus with photographing, there is a digital record of the section, where with just slides, a slide can be lost. I'll have to ask Monday why they don't just stain the troublesome sections after they photograph them (maybe they do).

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