Sunday, March 20, 2011

Welcome to Fish Tales!

Here I'll blog about my trip to British Columbia, Canada to collect stickleback fish for my research at Michigan State University. I'll travel with Melissa, another GK-12 teaching fellow and scientist, who will also contribute to this blog.

At the right is a picture of the two species of stickleback fish we will collect. These stickleback fish live in six freshwater lakes in southwestern Canada.

There are lots of differences between the two species. One difference you can notice from the picture is that benthic fish are bigger than limnetic fish. The species also live in different areas of the lake. Benthic fish are bottom-dwelling and limnetic fish spend their time in open water.  The species also have different diets. Benthic fish eat small worms and insects that live in the mud along the bottom of the lake. Limnetic fish eat small organisms called plankton that float around in the open water. Both fish in the picture are males. These males are colorful when they are ready to mate. Benthic males are black and limnetic males have red throats and blue bodies. Male sticklebacks make nests and court females to deposit eggs in their nests. Then males care for the eggs and the fry (baby fish) that hatch. Benthic and limnetic males typically nest in different habitats. Benthics nest in the plants and limnetics nest in the open.
Benthic males (black) nest in vegetation. Limnetic males (red and blue) nest in the open.

Melissa and I will travel from Lansing's airport to the airport in Vancouver, Canada on March 27th.

Click on the picture to view full size.

Check back soon for more updates on our travels and research experience!