As part of the Cal Poly Frost Summer Undergraduate Research Program, Ellie worked with master's student Erin to study 'The Effects of Marine Heatwaves on Sebastes mystinus Growth Rate' and Abby worked with master's student Hannah to study 'Coprophagy by Herbivorous Fishes in the Caribbean'. The two recently presented their findings at the Frost Summer Research Symposium.
The Effects of Marine Heatwaves on Sebastes mystinus Growth Rate
This summer, Ellie analyzed age-at-length data for Blue rockfish during the 1982-1983 El Niño to determine the relationship between anomalous warm water events and growth rate. She constructed Von Bertalanffy growth curves before, during, and after the El Niño and found that growth appears to slow during and after warm water events for this fish species. Future directions this study could take include examining growth curves of other temperate fishes during warm water events and combining multiple datasets into a powerful predictive tool for estimating growth rates during future climate anomalies.
Coprophagy by Herbivorous Fishes in the Caribbean
Abby analyzed feces consumption (or 'coprophagy') by herbivorous parrotfishes and surgeonfishes in the Caribbean. She found that while there are species-specific differences in rates of coprophagy, the majority of species engaged in coprophagy to some extent. To determine the nutritional drivers of this behavior, Abby helped develop a lab protocol to analyze the nutritional breakdown of targeted fecal pellets. Over the next year, she will work to analyze these fecal samples and report on these findings for her senior research project, supported by a Cal Poly Baker/Koob award.
Congratulations on concluding this exciting summer research!
We extend our deepest thanks to William and Linda Frost for their generous funding of undergraduate research that helped to support this research. We look forward to sharing our findings with the broader community in the future.
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Well, we're a collection of science-minded marine misfits. But we're always up to something...