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People who know me well know that I am frequently on the road for various aspects of my work. Yesterday I took a fellow labmate over to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab- I was taking one of my red snapper over for them to put on display (he'd gotten too big for what I needed) and she was looking for advice on keeping her pipefish happy. I am glad to have the relationship with DISL that I do- as some of you may know I am alumni of the Lab and have kept up with the folks who run the Estuarium over there. Their aquarist gave my labmate some great information and even gave her a big culture of food to give to her pipefish (they're tough to keep in captivity just like their seahorse cousins). It was a casual visit and we got to see a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff, learn about research going on over there, and take a stroll around the public aquarium. If you haven't visited Dauphin Island Sea Lab's Estuarium, make it a point to go over there- they have some wonderful, and very educational, displays. Just wanted to share some photos from the trip!

They keep several freshwater displays with animals like bowfin, shiners, and sunfish, but we had a chance to handle a very lively alligator snapping turtle- you can see the "worm" in his mouth which he uses to lure prey:



This animal was quite a treat to see- a Roundel Skate. Apparently they've only been able to collect a very scant few in the last 10 years. This is the animal we see half-digested in the guts of hammerhead sharks over the last 2 years that I've dissected specimens at the Outcast tournament:



In the big Gulf tank they have a pair of massive tripletails:



...and a small (3-foot-or-so) nurse shark with several red snapper that would probably be in the 10-15 pound range.....



A Scamp willing to come rather close to the front tank glass....



The nurse shark again, and in the foreground above the shark is probably the biggest Lane snapper I have ever seen!



One of my favorites in the Gulf tank- a Red Hind (in the grouper family)- he posed for a couple of shots:





They have a large Mobile Bay tank also, with some familiar faces:

Flounder, most likely Southern Flounder.....



Some verrrrrrrry large Sea Robins.....





One of my favorites- a Lookdown:



And a fish that made me wish I had some live croakers..... this big girl weighs in at about 8 pounds, I was told......



Who brought the butter?? ;) Spiny lobster in one of the reef tanks:





One of the many small seabasses found locally.....



They have a beautiful Australian jellyfish on display:



As part of our behind-the-scenes tour, we got to hang out on the walkway above the Mobile Bay tank- this is looking down at the tarpon, lookdowns, spadefish, and a few others....



Our timing was just perfect- we arrived at the lab at the same time that their research vessel had come in, and they had something I hadn't expected- a load of live baby red snapper!!! And they had saved them just for me!!!!! Woo hoo!!! So I rigged up a life-support system for them- I had the container I'd used to transport the solo fish, and a filter, so I thought I'd share the configuration I came up with to keep TWENTY-THREE fish going back to Pensacola....

Here's the truck with an extension cord leading to a converter in the cigarette lighter.....



And me DUCT TAPING a cooler together to hold down a filter, which was plugged via extension cord into the cigarette lighter......



We just thought it was funny that there isn't always a piece of high-tech scientific equipment available to get the job at hand accomplished, and that when this is all over my master's won'e be in JUST marine biology, but "Duct Tape & PVC Fittings" too...... LOL....

We arrived back at campus in the early evening and released the fish. A couple of them had some parasites that needed attending, so I sat up at UWF until after 9pm last night medicating and acclimating baby red snapper. My labmate was able to feed her pipefish, and they ate greedily..... mission accomplished!

Here are the baby snapper in an acclimation basket in my main holding tank- these guys are TINY but won't be that way for long once they start eating.



Perspective on just how tiny these guys are! Amazing that these fish can grow to 50 pounds and live up to 60 years....... ya gotta start somewhere. It is always neatgetting a close look atthese barely-months-old little red snapper- the future of a fishery is right here.



Hope y'all enjoyed the pix... just a little slice of the work I get to do and enjoy getting up for each day. :)
 

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Yep thats pretty darn cool. I envy you. I'd love to see behind the scenes there, too freaking cool. You take care of those snapper, learn all you can from them. I like the pix of the lookdown, always fascinating.
 

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AS usual a informative post...How much did you pay your subjects so you were able to get those great shots.....:takephoto
 

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Karon, I was thinking about signing Alex up for their summer camp if they still have it. If you get a chance will you ask your friend when they need to sign up.
 
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