Biopesticides: a potential solution to healthier aquatic ecosystems

By: Dana Sackett, PhD Aquatic environments are frequently the eventual, albeit-it often unintentional, receptacle for pollutants released by human activities.  While the adage ‘it always rolls downhill’ is meant to be facetious, in practice, wastewater effluent discharge, stormwater run-off, and agricultural runoff (including pesticides) do wash downstream into our aquatic ecosystems.  Aquatic organisms are also…

How conserving biodiversity may help prevent the next pandemic

By: Dana Sackett, PhD Given the unprecedented times we are in and that most with an interest in fish biology also have an interest in ecology and nature, I decided to take some liberties in this week’s The Fisheries Blog article.  So please bear with me while I diverge from our typical fisheries-centered topics and…

Sick fish: social distancing may help them too

By: Dana Sackett, PhD Here at The Fisheries Blog our current situation begs the questions: can fish be infected with viruses too?  The answer is a resounding yes.  But before we get into the details, let’s first describe what a virus is and how it is different from other pathogens (things that cause disease), such…

“These are a few of my favorite things” while quarantined

By: Dr. Dana Sackett As we all face a global pandemic together, we can each do our part in these uncertain times by following the guidance of our amazing scientists at the World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control (I strongly encourage everyone to read over their guidelines).  Their guidance includes telling everyone that…

Welcome to the known world!

By: Dana Sackett Each year brings new discoveries of organisms we had no idea we shared the Earth with.  Some of these discoveries, particularly those in the aquatic environment (though I may be a bit bias), can leave people scratching their heads in wonder.  In 2001, an international project called the All Species Inventory was…

Pesticide resistance: its not just for bugs anymore

By: Dana Sackett When a specific trait about an animal makes it more likely to survive and produce offspring, that trait will get passed on to the next generation becoming more frequent in successive generations than those traits that do not help individuals survive and reproduce. For example, if being able to swim away from…

Fish: helping to balance carbon in the oceans

By: Dana Sackett, PhD Recent research has found that fish may be more important to the ocean carbon cycle than previously predicted.  A compound called calcium carbonate, which is the main ingredient in the shells of marine organisms (coral reefs, oysters, clams, sea urchins, some plankton), is predicted to become more and more limited to…

Re-run: Legacy pollution, an unfortunate inheritance

With the 149th American Fisheries Society Meeting jointly in full swing with The Wildlife Society in Reno, Nevada this week, we decided a re-run of a previous post about a topic that could impact both fish and wildlife was appropriate. In addition, this post is timely as it puts the potential consequences of the recent…

Super Models of Science

By: Dana Sackett While the title of this article may bring to mind runway models in lab coats, this week I want to discuss those ‘super’ models that scientists use to describe, understand, and predict the world around us.  These types of models allow us to better understand why an ecosystem is the way it…

A potential solution to removing a persistent pollutant

By: Dana Sackett In this week’s article I wanted to revisit a topic we covered in 2014 and share some potentially promising new information. That topic involved a group of man-made chemicals found in non-stick/non-stain, fire retardant and firefighting products known as poly- and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs). Our previous article discussed the emerging problems associated…

Starless Seas – Where have all the stars gone?

By: Dana Sackett A sea star is not usually the first example that comes to mind when picturing a voracious and fearsome top predator. However, many sea stars, the star-shaped echinoderms colloquially called “starfish” and often found in beach-motif decor, are just that: awesome top predators.  Moreover, many sea star species are keystone species, or…

Some unexpected consequences of hurricanes

By: Dana Sackett Hurricanes can devastate a coastline for all who reside there, people and fish alike (see previous articles by The Fisheries Blog, which detail these impacts here and here).  Despite the devastation that hurricanes can leave in their wake, there are some species that, surprisingly enough, flourish as a result of these massive…

Fun Fish Festivals: year-round edition

By: Dana Sackett Since moving to Germany, I have loved attending the near endless number of festivals that seem to fill the calendar year round.  Summer fests turn into fall wine fests, which then seamlessly transitioned into various harvest, pumpkin, and beer festivals (including the famous Oktoberfest in Munich).  Next will be the winter festivals…

Heatwave

By: Dana Sackett In my recent adventures as a military spouse, I found myself and my family uprooted once again and headed to a new home; this time overseas in Germany.  We made this move just a few short weeks ago during the intense heatwave that wracked the eastern portion of the United States.  In…

Are fish ‘Bad Moms’?

By: Dana Sackett The lives of fish cannot technically be compared to the lives and pressures placed on today’s human moms (that then naturally let loose in an epic party).  However, in honor of Mother’s Day we decided to share some of the maternal roles fish play and imagine if these same roles existed for…