Monthly Fishbits

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Want a heads up when we find really cool research and articles about all things fishy? Then you’re in the right place! We’re going to start a monthly roundup of interesting bits and pieces related to  marine research and sustainable fishing but also other things we find that have caught our interest that month. So if you need some inspiration, or bedtime reading, we’ll have you covered. Continue reading

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Fishing Journal now online

It’s probably no real surprise that both Lac and I do a fair bit of fishing (some say too much). In the past we’ve documented what we’ve been catching on Instagram, but are often left with pictures from our fishing trips which end up clogging our hard drives. So this year we have created a “Fishing Journal” page on the blog to share some thoughts and pictures from our fishing adventures. Continue reading

Eat or be eaten: invasive fish forces shrimp to make tough life decisions

This guest post by Laura Lopez, a PhD candidate from the University of Wollongong who is looking at the behavioural interactions between the introduced Eastern Mosquito fish and native fauna. Below is a summary of her awesome work on glass shrimp. Laura is also assessing the impact of Eastern Mosquito fish on Australian Bass so hopefully we can get an update on this work later in the year!


Eat or be eaten: invasive fish forces shrimp to make tough life decisions

by Laura Lopez

Predation is often presented as a rather simple, albeit dramatic sequence. We might think of a cheetah chasing down a lone gazelle, or the aerial aerobics of a great white shark ambushing a rather unfortunate sea lion. While it’s true that the immediate impact of predation is one less prey animal and one satisfied predator, there is a whole other side to this interaction that we can’t easily see.

In reality, predation is actually a complex interaction, the outcome of which depends on predator behaviour and motivation, prey behaviour and the environment. Fear of a predator itself has a powerful effect on prey animals and can be both a blessing and a curse. For example, while hanging out on the beach might help a sea lion avoid a shark attack, it also prevents it from feeding. Therefore, while avoiding exposure to predators might help prevent being eaten (known as a consumptive effect) it also leads to a loss of fitness in the long term (known as a non-consumptive effect).

For prey to make the most of this trade-off, they need to be able to tell when it’s a good time to go out, or a good time to stay home. A further complication is the fact that predator density and therefore behaviour can vary, as can the time of day. I’ve been researching this conundrum by observing how different densities of the invasive freshwater Eastern Mosquito fish, Gambusia holbrooki, predate upon and alter the behaviour of a native glass shrimp, Paratya australis, during the day and at night. The Eastern Mosquito fish is a tiny but devastating introduced species which has been very successful in Australia. However, we don’t know much about how it’s interacts with native species as a predator.

Shrimp

Female (berried) glass shrimp. Elastomer tag injected into the tail to allow individuals to be identified.

 

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Fish Thinkers online: 2015 in review

 

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Photo credit: Top centre Aussie Fly fisher, top right John Harding & all others Fish Thinkers.

I was reading one of the bigger ecology blogs that I find myself returning to fairly regularly and they posted a review of their blog year, mostly for themselves to reference.  I found it interesting so went to have a look at our own blog and social media stats. I thought  I’d post a fish thinkers summary mainly as a record for myself but also on the odd chance anyone else is vaguely interested (its also a sneaky way to kick off a year in which I plan to post on here more regularly). Continue reading

Make your assignment marker happy

While I am reblogging things; I have been meaning to reblog this post of Martins for a while. He has written a useful little document (that you can download) outlining many of the basic grammar and formatting mistakes that students make in their reports (and that apparently make him miserable haha). Lets be honest, I made a few of the mistakes as well so I found it quite useful myself but perhaps its best use is being passed onto undergrads when you are going mark their work ;). I’ll let Martin do the rest of the talking…

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The dreaded red pen. The dreaded red pen. An example of a very frustrated marker. I hope my feedback was a little less personal (this is NOT a picture of my marking). 

Recently I’ve been marking for some second and third year biology classes. I’ve been a little shocked at the quality of the work the students have been presenting. I found myself wondering whether I was marking them too hard? However, I soon came to the conclusion that this was not the case.

One of the classes is a third year class and some of these students are on the cusp of completing a Bachelor of Science without knowing whether to use “two”, “to” or “too”. It’s a scary thought. I would like to think that these students wouldn’t be able to complete their degrees with such appalling spelling and grammar, but let’s face it, they’ve made it through to the final semester of their undergraduate degrees…

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The Altmetric Bookmarklet – an instant measure of the reach of academic publications [UPDATED]

I was thinking of writing a post about Altmetrics Bookmarklet after talking to a few people about how useful it is – however I don’t think I could do any better than Jeff Ollerton’s Biodiversity Blog post which is well written and concise. So I have re-blogged it below. The only thing I’d add for those that haven’t looked at Altmetrics before is that it isn’t necessary to download the bookmarklet to use Almetrics it as many databases have a Alt tab next to each paper (for example Wiley online library).

Jeff Ollerton's Biodiversity Blog

Academics seem to be obsessed with metrics of all kinds at the moment, and I’m certainly not immune to it as my recent post on the h-indexdemonstrated.  So I was intrigued by a new (at least to me) browser plug-in that gives you instant altmetricssuch as number of times mentioned on Twitter, Facebook or on news outlets, or cited in blogs, policy documents, Wikipedia, etc.  It’s called the Altmetrics Bookmarklet and can be downloaded (or rather dragged from the screen to the bookmark bar of your browser) from here.

I’ve given it a spin and it seems to do what it says it can do, within narrow publisher and time limits (2011 onward for Twitter, for instance).  It’s very, very simple.  Just find a paper that you are interested in, on the publisher’s official website; here’s a recent one by my colleagues Duncan McCollin and Robin Crockett…

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