After completing roughly half of my internship here in the Smokies, it is easy for me to decide what my favorite part of the job has been. This is primarily due to the fact that I’ve basically done one thing: shocking! Luckily for me, this type of work is truly my passion and I love every day of it. They say a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work; well for me, work IS fishing!
As our data collection centers around the use of a backpack electrofishing unit, I have found myself quite at home with 2 shocker probes in my hands, wading up a mountain stream. due to the nature of our data collection procedure, the first of 3 passes is always the most exciting, as this pass will yield the highest numbers of fish! It is truly an exciting experience, as stunned fish seem to materialize from nowhere! I would liken the experience to playing a video game, as your reflexes have to be sharp and your reactions must be quick to ensure an efficient depletion of fish from the sample site is achieved.
I have fallen in love with this line of work, and I hope to continue this for the rest of my career yet to come! Stay tuned for more updates, as we begin a new sampling procedure next week that will yield unimaginable biodiversity and will give the 3-pass method a run for its money!