Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Searching and Sampling

Today was a beautiful day on the ocean - clear skies, warm temperatures and beautiful weather. We started the day with tremendous optimism after the our first day's success; however, we failed to locate Pacific bluefin tuna, Thunnus orientalis. A highlight of the afternoon was Jim Miller catching a 25 lb yellowtail- his first ever off a large kelp paddy. We did find one lonely albacore on the troll. Dan Madigan sampled the the albacore for his thesis research on diet of albacore. We're going to take the live fish in to the dock to off load for a trip to the research tanks in Monterey. Hope to be back out fishing by the afternoon. We're thinking a lot about how the bluefin tuna interact with the banks of the region and where they might be.
The sampling shows Gen Del Ray and Luis Rodriguez taking fresh samples of the tuna hearts for studies that help us better understand how these olympians tolerate large changes in ambient water while delivering oxygen to tissues that operate at high temperatures. Our heart is warm- and sends blood to warm tissues- the tunas have this remarkable capacity to go deep into cooler waters- chilling the heart- but maintaining flow to warm muscle tissues. How they do this is a mystery given a mammal's heart would stop! Dan is getting the samples from the stomach for isotopic analyses, and Jim Miller is smiling about that first fish in the Pacific.

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