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Sept. 19-25

Good news/bad news for the team…

Bad news first: 

We have approximentaly 3-4 weeks TOPS to complete all IUCAC forms and finish research at the Biosphere. AH crunch time!

Good news:

Is actually GREAT news, the Biosphere employees have decided its time to add some new invertebrates and fish species into the ocean!! As algae levels have decreased tremendously over the past year, the B2 ocean is becoming an acceptable ocean system again and is on its way to success (corals being added in the future!!) But this means all of our research must be completed.

Sept. 12-18

As we have decided to swab the yellow tangs mucus membrane and complete fin clipping for DNA testing, its time to start working on an addendum to the IUCAC protocols. Taking this microbial approach will give us more data to analyze in order to really see if there is a difference between the two distinct yellow tang populations in the B2 Ocean. 

Gotta love paperwork! 

Also, upcoming in the beginning of October, the IUCAC team will be visiting the Biosphere with us to make sure we are following all protocols correctly. 

Lots to prepare for but its an eye opening experience for us realizing research is not always just going out into the field and completing an experiment :).

September 5-11th

September 8th:

We had our first meeting of the semester with advisor Matt Sullivan, and discussed all aspects of gastric lavage as well as discussing potential microbial examination. Many “fish studies” focus on the ecology and we are now hoping combine ecology and microbiology to truly grasp the Yellow Tang species and survival in the Biosphere 2 ocean. As this is new to our study, look for changes in all aspects of written work and blog updates! This is very exciting for us as Sullivan is known for his specialty in microbes/virus.

September 9th:

Arizona Daily Wildcat notes the increased attendance at the Biosphere 2! 

September 10th:

Back to the Biosphere after a few week break! Our goals for today are setting up a 30 and 50 gallon fish tank to support or lavage apparatus. They will have basic filters just to keep the salt water fresh as these tanks will be “holding” tanks before and after completing gastric lavage. 

August 22-28

Great News! Our gastric lavage protocol is officially approved by the University of Arizona! This means we can begin lavage on yellow tang fish, which will be our last research in our experimentation. For more information on details for the Universities protocols and working with fish please visit for a full overview. 

Goal for this week:

  • Practice anesthetizing a yellow tang from our experimental aquarium
  • Successfully complete gastric lavage on a yellow tang from our experimental tank

August 8-21

We are wrapping up our summer times continuing to collect data 2-3 times weekly. Starting the 23rd, classes will begin and our data collection will change back to once a week. Our goal is to collect data until the end of September and then really start the writing process. 

But with the end of the summer comes exciting happens for the Ocean gang!!

  • August 17th National Geographic is coming to visit and focus most of there time on other members of Professor Sullivans lab which is studying the viral aspects of the ocean. They asked us to come support and share our information as well!! 
  • August 20th the Tucson Daily Star will be coming to report a story on our summer research! We will keep you posted when the story will be in the paper.
  • Lastly, we will be hearing form the IACUC committee any day now and will be able to start our gastric lavage!!!

    August 1-7

    Still continuing B2 visits 2-3 times a week.

    Sunday we spent a long time in the deep end of the ocean and determined a new fish that we have not noted in our fish guide from previous research. We determined it as a unknown and gave it the nickname “phoenix suns fish” as it is purple/black in color with orange curved stripes on the front half of the body. 

    Now with dive gear, we have been able to spend longer time monitoring this fish and finally have a clear idea of what it looks like and will be spending the next week determining its species. 

    This is great news as we can now add it into our point counts and remove it from our unknown list!!! 

    July 25-31

    No new serious updates as we are still collecting data 2-3 times a week. We finally figured out a stable control for point count with our underwater video camera, and set up a pully system underwater using dive weights, rope and camera. Ultimately the camera is set up looking down at the dive stick in question (replicating a diver) and records for 5 minutes as the diver does as well. This is will allow us to monitor if the fish activity is drastically different using divers in the water.

    July 18-24

    We are continuing with point count and examining our cages. The ultimate goal of the caging experiment is to notice a difference in grazing patterns of the fish (focusing on the yellow tangs) but we are noticing that the hypothesis is not showing matching results. We based the experiment off of scientific papers that were preformed in the actual ocean, so for lack of noticeable results could be due to lack of numbers of fish. Or since the entire ocean is covered in algae, the fish have their choice in location for grazing, and as we placed the cages in generally populated areas, once again due to lack of numbers and large amount of algae, we are not seeing the dramatic results as expected.

    The point count is successful, as we are even able to determine exactly which fish are living in each rock. It is to the point where we know what to expect and can locate species due to location. 

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