What a journey!
When we bring the fish back to MSU, we pack the fish into plastic bags, and then we place multiple plastic bags into the biggest coolers you buy. We duct tape the coolers closed and take them as checked bags on our flights.
This year, the airports caused us major headaches! For our flight from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Lansing, Michigan, the heat in the plane's cargo hold was broken. We were not allowed to take our fish on the plane because they would be exposed to temperatures below -10 degrees Fahrenheit. The fish would die from being at such cold temperatures.
We had to wait until the next morning to fly out, and I had to store my coolers of fish at the airport overnight. I was so nervous that the fish would not survive the wait!
Despite a lot of craziness, the fish finally got back to MSU, and they are happily swimming in their tanks. Females are developing eggs and males are getting brightly colored as they prepare for reproduction.
It will be a busy next few months as I run my experiments using these fish. One of my summer projects examines whether habitats help females pick the right mate. I will show females males of her own species and males of the other species, and I will change whether those males are in the "right" or "wrong" habitat. If females are better at picking males of her own species when those males are in the "right" habitat compared to the "wrong" habitat, then habitats are important for females when they are choosing mates.
Even though we (Melissa, me, and the fish!) are home safe, I still have some other stories to share from our travels. I'll continue to update the blog over the next couple of weeks with additional fish tales, and I'll keep you updated on how the fish in the lab are doing.