Thursday, November 4, 2010

Heppell Lab at PICES

During the week of October 25th through the 29th a few members of the Heppell lab current and past attended the annual meeting for the North Pacific Marine Science Orginization (PICES), in Portland, Oregon. This meeting was an opportunity for students in the lab to interact with scientists working in the north Pacific from the US, Canada, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and China. Oregon State University was well represented with multiple scientists from Hatfield Marine Science Center as well as students from Fisheries and Wildlife, COAS and zoology.

The meetings theme this year was"North Pacific Ecosystems Today, and Challenges in Understanding and Forcasting Change". Much of the meeting's sessions were on the influences of changing climate on species distributions, trophic interactions as well as large scale oceanographic considerations. Current students, Kevin Thompson and Luke Whitman had research relevant to this theme in the north Pacific and were lucky enough to attend for free and receive lodging from PICES in exchange for volunteer time at the registration desk. Luke presented one chapter of his thesis with a talk entitled "Variation in the distribution and energy density of juvenile walleye Pollock in the southeastern Bering Sea". Kevin's poster, "Factors affecting the diets of groundfish in the Gulf of Alaska" presented some preliminary results of his dissertation work. Both presentations were well recieved and both students had an opportunity to discuss their research with multiple scientists representing a variety of agencies. Current student Linsey Arnold and former students Ali Dauble (now with ODFW) and Marisa Litz (now with NMFS Northwest Science Center) took the opportunity to attend portions of this meeting.Overall, it was a great opportunity having this large, international meeting so close in Portland and multiple members of lab took that time to make important contacts as well as increase exposure to the lab's research.

For more information on PICES, this last meeting as well as future meetings go to

Luke Whitman presenting and Kevin Thompson with poster at PICES 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bringing Enthusiasm and Science to Alaska: WGC 2010

From April 26- 30, seven members of the Heppell lab attended the 16th biennial Western Groundfish Conference (WGC), which was held in Juneau, Alaska. In addition to gorgeous weather, highlights of the trip included a whale watching adventure in Auke Bay where we spotted hundreds of bald eagles, two breaching orca whales, bubble netting and feeding, a spyhopping humpback, and numerous fluke shows that I was never really able to capture with my camera. Additionally, the Heppell lab presented a poster and 4 talks, one of which won 2nd place for best student paper (way to go Ali!). There were a number of great talks in addition to those from our lab, including talks on habitat and distribution, stock assessment, fishery monitoring/ management, ecosystem processes, life history (a.k.a. the OSU session), and advanced technology of our western groundfish. When we weren’t listening attentively to these talks, we could be found on one of the many amazing hikes around town, likely the Mendenhall Glacier (which is ~12 miles long!), at the Alaskan Brewing Company (6 free “samples”!), or walking around downtown Juneau. Entertainment for the week also included a tour of the Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute (where some Heppell labmates got left behind… not naming names or admitting anything), a banquet with a comedian, a show with Ira Glass, and a few conference socials. Additional excitement was brought by all of the schwag and prizes that we took home, including a t-shirt with the 2010 WGC logo (by Doris Alcorn), which was particularly cool, door prizes that ranged from painted moose poop (literally) to black cod (which I accidentally left in the hotel room) to two tickets on another Bay tour, and Tom’s grand prize win of the Lotek pop-up satellite tag (you’ve got to love high-tech Lotek). Overall, it was an amazing week in Juneau, with the Heppell lab representing in style and volume. I can’t wait for WGC 2012, Washington!

Heppell lab talks:
1. Luke Whitman: Variation in the distribution and energy density of juvenile walleye Pollock in the southeastern Bering Sea.
2. Noelle Yochum: Reaping the rewards of collaboration: fishermen, scientists, and managers develop and implement surveys to monitor California nearshore fishes.
3. Ali Dauble: Juvenile rockfish settlement patters in Oregon estuaries.
4. Linsey Arnold: Maternal effects in a long-lived, deep-dwelling rockfish, Sebastes alutus

Heppell lab poster:
1. Suzanna Stoike: Collaborative rockfish research with the Oregon live fishery: lessons learned.


First picture: Juneau, AK.

Second picture: Bubble netting.

Third picture: Heppell lab members enjoy a wonderful afternoon of whale watching (with beer and wine) in Auke Bay. [From left: Luke Whitman, Alena Pribyl (recent graduate from Carl Schreck’s lab, OSU), Ali Dauble, Scott Heppell, Suzanna Stoike, Linsey Arnold, Tom Calvanese, and Noelle Yochum]

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fishing/Diving day in Port Orford

On February 18th, the weather in Port Orford FINALLY gave us a break.
A van full of Heppellians including 4 research certified divers in the lab headed south to volunteer their time to help complete video recompression work on rockfish.
As a part of the Port Orford tagging project, we used a recompression cage with an attached underwater camera to watch fish, specifically gravid rockfish, as they were lowered back to 1 atmosphere (~33 ft). After release from the cage divers followed the fish until they could no longer see it, or until the fish came to rest.
The day was a great success, sans the broken camera and the impossible surge towards the end of the day. We were able to capture two visibly gravid (pregnant) china rockfish and watch them as they returned to depth.
A huge thanks to the volunteers; Tom, Kenny, Sarikka, Scott, Stephanie, Ali, and Luke. Thanks to our wonderful charter captains, Aaron and Evan, for showing us a great day.