Fishing waste: a potential new source of biodegradable plastic

By: Dana Sackett, PhD The prestigious James Dyson Award is given to a university student each year for an invention that helps solve a widespread problem.  Lucy Hughes, the 2019 winner of this award, may have outdone herself by potentially solving not one but two global issues with her innovative design.  She proposed using the…

Repeat spawner series: The Values of a Species

By: Dana Sackett According to some scientists the earth is undergoing the sixth mass extinction crisis in the last half-billion years.  Some have described this current crisis as the largest loss of plants and animals since the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.  With so much loss it is hard to understand how these extinctions are…

Biomarkers of pollution: an early warning system

By: Dana Sackett, PhD The harm caused by toxic pollutants starts by changing the internal chemistry of an organism (chemicals in living organisms are called biochemicals).  These initial changes can cascade over time, causing damage at the cellular, tissue, organ, individual, population, and ultimately ecosystem levels.  Because pollutant-driven biochemical alterations precede larger population and ecosystem…

Got Skillz? The Responses so far…

By: Dana Sackett, PhD There are a myriad of skills needed to succeed in aquatic science; not the least of which include being able to come back from the field sleep-deprived, mosquito bitten, and covered in muck with a commitment to do it again for more data. When it comes to science in general, previous…

Got Skillz?

By: Dana Sackett, PhD Much of my adult life has been dictated by the needs of the military (my husband’s employer), including frequent moves.  As a result, I have often had to find ways to gain and develop new skill sets to keep myself employed in the field of environmental science.  Following our most recent…

In hot water: the consequences of warming lakes, rivers, and oceans

By: Dana Sackett, PhD With the ripples of a historic election still settling in the United States, one promise from the President-elect and Vice President-elect is resonating with the scientific community more than most. The direct promise to address climate change with science-based decisions and policies. A promise that comes as the 28th major storm…

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…

Repeat Spawner Series: 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…