May 28, 2009
Fish dissections continued today and into the night after dinner. The pressure is on to get all the needed tissues and start to wrap up the data collection. We are a little over a week from departing Palmer and there is a lot left to do. I helped Irina and Jeff dissect after dinner. Jeff instructed me on the proper technique to extract the brain and pectoral muscle tissue. After collecting the samples, they go into individually labeled tubes that are quickly flash frozen and then put into the minus 80 degree freezer for storage. Making sure that this is done quickly and properly is vital to preserve the samples. The assays that the fish team does on them are extensive processes involving many steps and calculations; therefore it is extremely important to take care with the collection of the tissues.
I have also been able to do some research on the Antarctic fish to be able to share some resources with my classes. Bruce recommended some great books that are in the science library here at Palmer. They are Antarctic Fish Biology by Joseph T. Eastman, Fishes of the Southern Ocean Edited by O. Gon and P.C. Heemstra and Antarctic Fish and Fisheries by Karl-Hermann Kock. These books provide great insight to the biology as well as the history of the Antarctic fish. Studying the history of the fishing industry here in Antarctica is most intriguing, as well as the different species of fish. They were identified in the 1800's during James Clark Ross' expedition, but not studied commonly until the 1950's. Realizing that so much is still unknown about these fish is fascinating. The FAO Species Identification Sheets of the Southern Ocean are also exceptional resources for the identification of the different species. This book has all different organisms as well, from whales to seals to fish. I am so thrilled that I have been able to experience working with these fish that are so unique first hand! I have lots ideas to take back to incorporate into the classroom!