Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fish Rescue in Prospect Park Lake

AREAC to the rescue! Paul Forlano, Brett Branco and Rob Dickie joined the staff of the Prospect Park Alliance and some volunteers last Wednesday to rescue fish from behind a temporary dam in Prospect Park Lake. Some major shoreline construction will be going on at the lake as the outflow drain is rebuilt and the shoreline is reconfigured.

The AREAC crew arrived with their 50 foot seine net and some waders. The mud was thick and deep and the going was tough. At one point, Rob began a slow descent into the muck and had to be rescued. After a couple of passes, with the seine net, everyone pitched in with hand nets to scoop the fish hiding in the shelter of the dam.

While we were there, hundreds of small sunfish were captured along with a catfish and a large mouth bass. Paul spotted an American eel slithering in the mud, but it made an escape. The Alliance and the volunteers continued on after our departure and we're still waiting to find out what the final fish tally was. Next week, a much larger section of the lake will be dammed and drained and we will pitch in to rescue more fish, turtles and whatever else we find.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Welcome to Paul Forlano

A belated welcome to AREAC's newest researcher, Dr. Paul Forlano. Paul is an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department. His specialty is neuroethology, the evolutionary and comparative approach to the study of animal behavior and its underlying mechanistic control by the nervous system. Paul uses the the plainfin midshipman fish, Porichthys notatus, in his research. This fish has become a well established model system for studying the neural and hormonal mechanisms of vocal-acoustic communication among vertebrates. Or, in other words, Paul studies the inner workings of the brain of this "talking" fish. We are scheduled to have some midshipman fish in our tanks in the near future.