02 Sep Nearing the End Already
During my time at Point Reyes Station, I have been fortunate to have been given opportunities to experience a number of different things in the fisheries field. In this blog post, I wanted to give a little summary of some of the highlights of my time here at Point Reyes Station. The first part of my internship was focused mainly on my main study, which was on the behavior of juvenile salmonids in two of our local creeks. The main incentive was to see how the native steelhead and coho salmon interacted with the juvenile chinook salmon that were documented for the first time in these creeks this year. The project was a bit of a pilot study, in that it used cameras to gather footage of the fish for reviewers to watch and monitor behavior, which does not have a lot of precedent. This was a really cool experience, especially because I got to be involved in the project design process as well as dealing with problems as they came up throughout the process of the project.
During the early stages of my internship, I also got to help with smolt trapping. This is a process where salmon that are in the midst of their migration down the creeks and out into the ocean are trapped, measured, and weighed. This was awesome because I got to get some hands-on experience with the fish.
After the salmonid behavior study and smolt trap projects finished up, I moved on to what the fisheries crew at Point Reyes refers to as their summer surveys. These surveys involve three main types of fieldwork. Those are habitat typing, snorkel surveys, and electrofishing. Habitat typing involves walking along the length of the creek in study, and measuring individual units within the creek. For example, a pool in the creek would have its length and various depths measured and recorded, and this is done for every unit on the length of the creek. During habitat typing, a number of the units are selected to be snorkeled. Then, another day, a team will go out and snorkel to get a count of how many fish are in each selected unit. After the snorkeling, a team will go to some of the snorkeled units and electrofish them. When electrofishing, a special backpack is used that puts an electric current into the water and stuns the fish. The fish are then netted, weighed, and measured. This process acts as a sort of calibration check, to compare the snorkel fish counts to the number of fish that are removed from the unit via electrofishing.
I currently only have a couple weeks of work left before this internship is over. It has really gone by fast, but when I look back, I realize how much I have been able to experience over the course of the last couple months.