The last month has been filled with a variety of preparatory tasks for myself and Dr. Lee Fuiman, as well as the staff at FAML and the UT maintenance team. After finishing my research proposal, our focus on getting this project going had shifted to obtaining approval from all the up highs and then taking inventory of our materials and modifying the larviculture facility to accommodate our research. After opening, surveying, and helping to install fifteen large boxes full of lighting hardware, I think an alternate career path for me could be becoming an electrician. For the last
week, I have been helping the maintenance guys build conduits from scratch to hold our special, state of the art light fixtures. I’ve also made about forty separate curtains from black plastic material to isolate each individual replicate tank. So far my work has been lots of measuring, constructing, and walking around thigh deep in the giant fish tanks (no fish yet, don’t fret). I’m excited to begin the actual experiments, which shouldn’t take too long to complete . During that time I will be feeding about 30 million plankton to 54,000 tiny red drum fish every day– hopefully they like my cooking.
In addition to the main research, I am also taking a sequence of photographs via a microscope-based camera of red drum larvae every day to track their physical development. Once the fish are too big to fit under a microscope, I will be making a time lapse video to show their development over time without regard to their change in size. Stay tuned to see that in about 20 days!