Seabits 4.9 (fwd)

From: mike williamson (williams@www1.wheelock.edu)
Date: Thu Aug 31 2000 - 23:04:58 EDT


To: Seabits <seabits@neaq.org>
Subject: Seabits 4.9

S E A B I T S
New England Aquarium Monthly e-mail Newsletter
<http://www.neaq.org/>
Volume 4, Issue 9, September 2000
Copyright, New England Aquarium 2000
-----------------------------------------------------------
Greetings Seabits readers. The regular editor is on maternity leave
(with her new son Matthew), so I'm filling in. This month's edition
brings you news of an adventurous sort - some historic and some
contemporary, but definitely seaworthy. Ride along with one of our
researchers looking for cod, and step back in time to learn about
those intrepid voyagers, the Vikings. Per usual, send an e-mail with
your thoughts, ideas or any good recipes you'd like to pass on.
-Sue Knapp, substitute editor <sknapp@neaq.org>

In this issue:
  Watery Words
  Stories
    -Yo Ho Ho and a Boatful of Cod
    -The Vikings are Coming!
Out on the Net
Calendar
Subscribe/Unsubscribe
Contact Us
*********** Watery Words *****************************

        There's a fine line between fishing and
standing on the shore like an idiot.
Comedian Steven Wright

*********** Stories **********************************
------------ Yo Ho Ho and a Boatful of Cod ----------------------
By Debie Meck, apprentice researcher

It's trueŠsometimes you just have to be in the right place at the
right time. When a colleague (who is also a friend) offered me the
opportunity to help with her research, let's just say I didn't
hesitate. Living on board a 92-foot boat for six days with
researchers and fishermen, longline fishing for cod in the Great
South Channel 20 miles off Cape Cod, and performing hematocrit tests
on fish blood were all going to be new experiences for me.

The Saltonstall Kennedy (SK) Bycatch Study is a joint project of the
New England Aquarium and the Massachusetts Division of Marine
Fisheries (MDMF). The researchers study cod bycatch (the mainly
undersized cod caught and released by fishermen). They hope to learn
how well the juvenile cod survives after it has been released. In
other words, do the fish live after they have been caught and let go
again?

There are two parts to the study. Dr. Marianne Farrington, a
biochemist with the New England Aquarium's Edgerton Research
Laboratory, tests the undersized fish's blood for indications of
stress. Marianne studies the blood chemistry of the bycatch. By
looking at the levels of several "biomolecules" she can determine the
likelihood of survival. When a fish is scared or under stress it
releases chemicals to the blood stream, much like humans release
endorphins when they are anxious. In the second half of the project,
Arne Carr of the MDMF releases the bycatch into a few large
underwater cages which are set back in the ocean. Twenty-four,
forty-eight, and seventy-two hours later, the researchers bring the
cages back on board to see if the fish have survived. Marianne and
Arne have conducted these studies for the past five years on both
trawl fishing and longline fishing. They have studied the survival
rate using different hook sizes and different means to take the fish
off the hooks. The goal is to determine the best way to help bycatch
survive to ensure the future of the fishery.

I wasn't really sure what to expect when I signed up as part of the
research team. They required an ability to work physically
exhausting, long hours and to follow orders. Having never been on a
fishing boat, I was expecting a cross between the S.S. Minnow and the
Love Boat. The Isabel S. is a 92-foot fishing vessel equipped for
both trawling and longlining. (I have to admit, I was hoping for the
Love Boat.) She came with a captain, first mate, cook and two
fishermen - one to find the fish and one to help us catch them.

I had been giddy with excitement for two weeks prior to the trip.
When I reached the dock in New Bedford, Massachusetts, anxiety set
in. "What am I doing? Oh well, too late to back down now," I told
myself as I hopped on board. After loading LOTS of equipment and
supplies, and stowing it, we had dinner at a local Portuguese
restaurant (another first for me), and we left the dock at midnight.

Have you ever tried to sleep in a bunk on a small ocean-going vessel?
Have you ever had the feeling you were falling when you were sleeping
and woke yourself up? It was like that - over and over and over. When
we woke up we were miles from shore, no land in sight. The ocean was
calm and soothing and at once my anxiety left me.

We began each day at dawn cutting up clams - many of them - to be
used as bait. After which, you guessed it, we baited hooks - many of
them. The hooks were attached to gangions (the small fishing lines
attached to the long-line), which were then snapped to the long line.
We were all needed to set the lines - two to snap the hooks to the
line as it was being released behind the boat and the rest of us to
hand over the baited hooks. It was a bit confusing at first, but by
the end of the trip, I was a pro.

Two hours later the captain pulled around to the beginning of the
line, and we started hauling it in. We were testing a new method to
release fish from the hook called a "flip." Basically, we flipped the
fish off the hook into a net rather than "snubbing" it, which means
ripping the hook out of its mouth. We needed to get an equal number
of fish that were flipped and snubbed to compare the stress levels of
both. Keeping track of how many "flips" and "snubs" was one of my
jobs. Once caught, every second fish was measured, wrapped in a wet
towel, had blood drawn, and was released into the ocean - a process
that took less than one minute. The others went to Arne for the
underwater cages. Recording the type of de-hooking method used, fish
size, sample numbers and adding any comments was my job. Hauling in
the whole line took between 45 and 90 minutes, depending on how many
fish had been caught. And then the real work began.

In a makeshift lab, set up in a closet, Marianne and I used a
centrifuge to separate the red blood cells from the plasma. Marianne
tested for all sorts of chemicals. I became known as "Hematocrit
Girl." I assessed the percentage of red blood cells within the plasma
with lightening speed and dead-on accuracy. This involved collecting
blood from each sample in small glass tubes - much like the ones used
for the finger blood test at your doctor's office. Armed with
magnifying glass in hand, I determined the percentage of red cells
after the blood had been separated in the centrifuge.

Each day we set the line at least twice, and hauled it in at least
twice. Our workday usually ran between fourteen and sixteen hours,
leaving just enough time for a few meals and a shower (no small feat
with only one bathroom for 11 people). Some nights we had time to
read or watch video tapes.

We baited over 10,000 hooks. We saw lots of humpback whales,
including one that breached right beside the boat as we were setting
lines. The trip was amazing. Things I liked best: the breeze from the
ocean coming through the porthole above my bunk, ice cream
sandwiches, sun rising through the mist, and the feeling of being
connected to something as vast as the ocean and allowed the smallest
glimpse into its wondrous mysteries. I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

Droplet: In 1998, the latest year figures are available,
Massachusetts commercial fishermen landed more than 20 million pounds
of Atlantic cod. By comparison, during that same year, Massachusetts
commercial fishermen caught more than 13 million pounds of American
lobster and 6 millions pounds of pollack. (source: National Marine
Fisheries Service website)

------ The Vikings are Coming! ----------------------------
By Bill Bennett, webmaster by day, medievalist by avocation

The Vikings are coming to Boston this September, or at least their
descendants are. The Viking Ship Icelander (Islendingur in Icelandic)
will dock at the New England Aquarium September 7-14, 2000. The ship
is sailing to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of Leif Eriksson's
voyage, the first historically attested landing of Europeans in North
America (about 500 years before Columbus).

Vikings originated in present-day Scandinavia. The term "Viking"
means something like "brigand," and isn't especially complimentary
even within Old Norse culture. The era of Viking raids in Europe
began in 793 A.D. with the looting of Lindisfarne monastery in
England, and lasted throughout the 9th century with attacks in
Scotland, England, Ireland, France and Russia. At some point these
raids evolved into genuine colonial incursions. Danes came to rule
Britain in the 9th century, settled in what became Normandy (named
after the Norsemen themselves), and ruled Novgorod and Kiev. The
effects of Danish rule over England are evident today in our
language: words like "window," from the Old Norse "vindauga" meaning
"wind-eye"; the modern sense of "dream" (the English word originally
meant "joy," but was assimilated to the Old Norse "draumr," meaning
"vision in sleep"); or town names ending in "-by" (the term "by-law"
comes from the Old Norse for local rules or "town law"--the word
"law" is also of Old Norse origin). In the 10th century Norse
explorers sailed west toward the New World, colonizing Iceland and,
briefly, Greenland and "Vinland"--modern Newfoundland. It was here
that Leif Eriksson set up an encampment in the year 1000 from where
he launched his voyages to North America. Norse culture was literate
and politically democratic as well as martial. The "Althing," the
Icelandic general assembly was founded in 930 and still operates
today. The Edda constitutes one of the great collections of early
poetry in Europe, and the Norse Sagas preserve much history as well
as legend and myth.

One of those stories, Hervor's saga, suggests that being a Viking
wasn't out of the question for women. Hervor was the daughter of
Agantyr, one of 12 brothers who were all berserkers (from the Norse
for "bear shirts," a term for the most fearsome warriors). Orphaned
when her father and uncles were killed in a great battle, she was
raised by her grandfather. She had no affinity for activities
considered proper for girls; rather, she spent all her time
practicing swordfighting and archery. She ran away from home, took
the masculine name Hervard, and joined a roving band of Vikings.
Hervor's adventures eventually led her to the enchanted land where
her father was buried. She convinced his spirit to give her his
legendary magical sword, Tyrfing. Later she used the sword to defend
her homeland. Much of the story is legend, but Hervor seems to have
been a real person--a number of families trace their genealogies back
through her.

One of the most famous poems in Old English, The Battle of Malden,
documents a real encounter between Anglo-Saxons and a band of Viking
raiders. In the poem the defenders of the township of Malden were
defeated by a band of "wicinges" (the raiders themselves use the term
"bold seamen"). At one point the poem depicts the verbal sparring
between the two sides. The Viking leader tauntingly offered to let
the English off easy: "We will allow you, if you don't feel up to
fighting, to pay us off with silver." This was as much of an insult
to an Anglo-Saxon warrior as to a Norse one. The jibe may have had
its desired effect. The leader of the English, Byrhtnoth, was
described as enormously tall, and perhaps because of his size, he was
a little too confident. According to the poet, Byrhtnoth's
overweening pride led him to allow the Norsemen to cross an isthmus
that would otherwise have kept them bottled up. This was a fatal
mistake.

At least one detail of the story was borne out in history. Byrhtnoth
was exhumed in the eighteenth century, and he was estimated to have
actually been nearly seven feet tall. The exact height could not be
determined because his head was missing, its place taken by a ball of
wax. This attests to another grim reality: heads of vanquished
enemies were taken as prizes by Norse raiders. It is probable that
Byrhtnoth's skull ended up being used as a ceremonial beer mug.

Droplet: Vikings nowadays are a bit more civilized. Today's
Icelanders are direct descendants of the Vikings. Crime is
practically nonexistent in Iceland, and Icelanders currently have the
longest life expectancy on the planet. The festivities while the ship
is in Boston include tours of the historic vessel, puppet shows and a
fisheries forum. For the complete list of activities, check out
<www.neaq.org>.

**** OUT ON THE NET ******************************************
For additional information, you might want to check out the following
websites. Some of these links represent partners in aquatic
conservation and animal husbandry; others are simply resources we
think may help you enrich your perspective on our watery world. By
listing these websites, the New England Aquarium is not automatically
endorsing or verifying the accuracy of their content unless
explicitly stated.

Cod Fishing
<http://www.st.nmfs.gov/>
<http://collections.ic.gc.ca/cod/history5.htm>
<http://www.mbayaq.org/efc/efc_oc/dngr_trbl_bycatch.asp>

Vikings
<http://www.icelandnaturally.com>
<http://www.mnh.si.edu/vikings/>
<http://www.pastforward.co.uk/vikings/index.html>

********** SEPTEMBER 2000 CALENDAR ************************
September 7-14, Viking fever hits Boston! The Icelander (Islendingur
in Icelandic) is coming to the New England Aquarium to celebrate the
1000th anniversary of the Vikings' landing in North America. Some
courageous sailors are recreating Leif Eriksson's momentous
adventure. With Aquarium admission you may greet the crew and tour
the amazing Icelander ship, which is a precise replica of a Viking
ship from about 1,000 years ago. Special events throughout the week
add to the festivities. For the complete calendar of events, go to
<www.neaq.org>.

Saturday, September 9, People of the Lake Preschool Explorers Class,
9:30 a.m. Recommended for ages 3 to 5. This one-hour program combines
a story, a hands-on activity, and a take-home art project or a closer
look at live animals. $4 per person for members; $8 per person for
non-members. An adult must accompany children -- no fee for adult
participant. The non-member price does not include Aquarium
admission. Younger siblings are welcome free of charge, but we ask
that you include them in your reservation for an accurate head-count.
Call (617) 973-5206 for reservations and information.

Saturday, September 9, Concord Family Field Trip, 10 a.m. Spend a few
hours with Aquarium educators at Walden Pond exploring habitats and
raising your awareness about environmental issues in this area. Learn
how to identify aquatic life, and discover how to become more
involved in conservation efforts locally. Activities will be based on
age and interest so every family member will have a unique learning
experience. Recommended for ages 5 and up. $6 per person for members;
$12 per person for non-members. Non-member price does not include
Aquarium admission. Call (617) 973-5206 for reservations and
information. Meet at Walden Pond. All who register receive directions.

Sunday, September 10, People of the Lake Preschool Explorers Class,
9:15 a.m. Recommended for ages 3 to 5. This one-hour program combines
a story, a hands-on activity, and a take-home art project or a closer
look at live animals. $4 per person for members; $8 per person for
non-members. An adult must accompany children -- no fee for adult
participant. The non-member price does not include Aquarium
admission. Younger siblings are welcome free of charge, but we ask
that you include them in your reservation for an accurate head-count.
Call (617) 973-5206 for reservations and information.

Saturday, September 16, Marine Mammals Explorers Class, 10 a.m.
Recommended for ages 5 to 9. Investigate animals and habitats with
hands-on aquatic activities. During this hour-long program,
participants enjoy personal attention from Aquarium educators. An
adult must accompany children -- no fee for adult participant. Cost
is $4 per person for members, $8 per person for non-members. The
non-member price does not include Aquarium admission. Call (617)
973-5206 for reservations and information.

Saturday, September 17, Cohasset Family Field Trip, 10 a.m. Spend a
few hours with Aquarium educators at Lily Pond exploring habitats and
raising your awareness about local environmental issues. Activities
will be based on age and interest so every family member will have a
unique learning experience. Recommended for ages 5 and up. $6 per
person for members, $12 per person for non-members. Non-member price
does not include Aquarium admission. Call (617) 973-5206 for
reservations and information.
Meet at Lily Pond. All who register receive directions.

Wednesday, September 20, Dive Club Meeting, 6:30 p.m. at the New
England Aquarium. Guests and new members always welcome. Call (617)
973-0240 for details. Meeting location: Conference Center.

Saturday, September 23, People of the Lake Preschool Explorers Class,
9:30 a.m. Recommended for ages 3 to 5. This one-hour program combines
a story, a hands-on activity, and a take-home art project or a closer
look at live animals. $4 per person for members; $8 per person for
non-members. An adult must accompany children -- no fee for adult
participant. The non-member price does not include Aquarium
admission. Younger siblings are welcome free of charge, but we ask
that you include them in your reservation for an accurate head-count.
Call (617) 973-5206 for reservations and information.

Saturday, September 23, Brookline Family Field Trip, 10 a.m. Spend a
few hours with Aquarium educators at Hall's Pond exploring habitats
and raising your awareness about local environmental issues.
Activities will be based on age and interest so every family member
will have a unique learning experience. Recommended for ages 5 and
up. $6 per person for members, $12 per person for non-members.
Non-member price does not include Aquarium admission. Call (617)
973-5206 for reservations and information. Meet at Hall's Pond. All
who register receive directions.

Sunday, September 24, People of the Lake Preschool Explorers Class,
9:30 a.m. Recommended for ages 3 to 5. This one-hour program combines
a story, a hands-on activity, and a take-home art project or closer
look at live animals. $4 per person for members; $8 per person for
non-members. An adult must accompany children -- no fee for adult
participant. The non-member price does not include Aquarium
admission. Younger siblings are welcome free of charge, but we ask
that you include them in your reservation for an accurate head-count.
Call (617) 973-5206 for reservations and information.

Sunday, September 24, Environmental Writer's Festival, 8 a.m. - 6
p.m. Join award-winning writers, poets, and journalists for a
day-long celebration of natural history writing during the annual New
England Aquarium Environmental Writers Festival. Whether you're an
experienced or new writer or just an aficionado of good nature
stories, you won't want to miss this rare opportunity to meet and
learn from some of the world's finest wordsmiths. Workshops include
topics such as Environmental Journalism, Natural History Writing,
Poetry, The Business of Writing, Nature Writing for Children and
Writing for Broadcast. Located in the Aquarium's Conference Center.
The registration fee includes lunch and special book signing at the
end of the day. For more information, call Ken Mallory at (617)
973-5295 or e-mail <kmallory@neaq.org>.

Tuesday, September 26 - Tuesday, October 3, Bimini Collecting Trip.
Ever wonder where we get the marine life that fills our exhibits?
Scuba divers and snorkelers are welcome to find out first-hand. The
Aquarium's Fishes Department offers limited space on its biannual
collecting trips for Aquarium members (new or present members). Dive
certification is recommended. Recommended for ages 18 to adult. For
more information on prices and itinerary, please call aquarist Holly
Martel Bourbon at (617) 973-5248, Tuesday-Saturday, or e-mail
<hbourbon@neaq.org>. Trips are subject to change. Space is limited to
nine participants for each trip, so book early!

Saturday, September 30, Fish, Form and Function Guided Tour, 9:15
a.m. Fish come in all shapes and sizes. Some fishes have shapes so
strange, they don't look like fish at all! During this tour, you'll
discover how shapes are one way fish have adapted to live in their
aquatic environments. With guidance from an Aquarium educator, you'll
see animals you may not have seen before. Tours are limited to 12
people. An adult must accompany children. Tours are approximately 30
minutes long. Meet your guide at the Information Desk in the Aquarium
lobby. $4 per person for members, $8 per person plus admission for
non-members. Call (617) 973-5206 for reservations and information.

Where in the World is our Traveling Tidepool?
Our Promotions Department is busy with lots of off-site events in
September. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by and say hello.
September 16: Gloucester Seafood Festival, St. Peter's Park, 1-4 p.m.
September 23: Mixfest at Suffolk Downs with WBMX-FM, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
These events are all in Massachusetts. If you have questions, please
e-mail <rvanhouten@neaq.org>.

October Preview:
On October 1, from 1-4 p.m. the Aquarium's Teacher Resource Center
(TRC) will host an Open House for Teachers and their families.
Teachers will discover our TRC is the place to come to bring your
lessons to life. You'll find all kinds of curricula and hands-on
materials such as turtle shells, alligator skulls, audiovisual
materials, books, puppets and kits. Most items are loaned for free.
Large kits, for which a rental fee is charged, provide curricula and
materials for such two-week units as New England Coastlines and
Whales. TRC consultation is free. For more information, or to make an
appointment, call (617) 973-6590 or e-mail <jrubin@neaq.org>.

Free Lecture Series sponsored by the Lowell Institute: The Buck
Starts Here -- Economics and the Environment. Each lecture begins at
7 p.m., and lectures are held in the Immersion Theater on the ground
floor of the parking garage just adjacent to the main Aquarium
exhibit building. Questions to <kmallory@neaq.org>

Thursday, October 5, 2000
Nature and the Marketplace: The Economic Value of Conservation
Geoffrey Heal, Ph.D., Paul Garrett Professor of Public Policy and
Business Responsibility, Columbia University

Thursday, October 12, 2000
Investing in Fisheries Stocks: Market-based Measures to Conserve
Marine Resources
Robert Repetto, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, World Resources Institute,
Fellow of the WHOI Marine Policy Center & Visiting Professor of
Economics, Yale University

Thursday, October 19, 2000
Compounding Interest in Freshwater Ecosystem Assets: The Challenge of
Building Resilience
Carl Folke, Ph.D., Director, Centre for Research on Natural Resources
and the Environment, Professor, Department of Systems Ecology,
Stockholm University & Beijer International Institute of Ecological
Economics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Thursday, October 26, 2000
The Human Portfolio: Population Growth and Resource Economics
Norman Myers, Ph.D., Consultant in Environment and Development, UK

Thursday, November 9, 2000
Wall Street and Biodiversity: The Ecology-Economy Interface
Robert Costanza, Ph.D., Director, International Institute for
Ecological Economics, University of Maryland

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***** CONTACT US **************************************************
Technical questions and comments? Contact Bill Bennett at <bbennett@neaq.org>.
Substance questions and comments? Contact Sue Knapp at <sknapp@neaq.org>.

***** THAT'S ALL FOLKS ********************************************
Next month brings us spooky and haunted happenings here on Central
Wharf. Tune in to see what mysterious things lurk beneath the
surface. Thanks for reading!
-Sue Knapp, Substitute Editor



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