Venturing Out of the Pond

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December in the San Juan Islands, an archipelago northwest of Seattle.

It has been several months since my last post, and many exciting developments have occurred since then!

I have much to share, but the first and most important change is that I have finished my Masters project in the fishpond and begun a new series of studies in the Pacific Northwest, where I just began my PhD at the University of Washington this past fall. The findings from my mangrove removal study have been turned into a manuscript, which we recently submitted to the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology (JEMBE) for review.

Following my thesis defense, I had the great privilege of sharing my results with the staff of Paepae o He‘eia, as well as some of the former POH interns and community members from He‘eia. One critical finding I discussed in the manuscript was the incredibly slow decomposition rate of red mangrove (Rhizohora mangle) in its introduced range in Hawai‘i compared to that found by previous studies in the Caribbean where R. mangle is native. I will discuss this thoroughly in a future post, but the slower bulk decomposition rate that I measured in the fishpond may be due to a relative lack of burrowers, or a low abundance of invertebrates who can digest mangrove-derived material, or both. Either way, this suggests that removing mangrove in its entirety may take tens of years, especially if roots are left to decompose.

My work in Washington will be on fish, specifically forage fish (small, pelagic fish such as herring, smelt, and sand lance, which provide food for larger predators and are fished commercially for feed or for bait).  Instead of starting a whole new research blog, I decided to continue to write in Fishpond Fever. Though the name suggests a very specific kind of material, many of the ecological processes we’re interested in and conservation concerns we have are linked. I will continue to write about interesting Hawai‘i- and fishpond-relevant research, as well as my new work.

Though my current thesis chapters are still in their developing stages, I will soon be sharing more about forage fish, herring, and the mathematical mysteries of the open ocean. Happy New Year, and welcome back to Fishpond Fever.

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Comments
2 Responses to “Venturing Out of the Pond”
  1. Sam A says:

    Happy New Year, Ms. Megsie!

    Guess you are now in the “beyond” stage…Fishpond Fever · Invasive species, food webs, and ecology in a Hawaiian fishpond and beyond. 

    Good luck in your next phase of life.

    Aloha, Sam

    ________________________________

  2. Jamie says:

    Welcome back to Washington!

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  • Mahalo Nui Loa

    I recently graduated from the Donahue Lab at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa and am currently a graduate student at the University of Washington. This research is funded by a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation, as well a scholarship from the Seattle chapter of the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation.
  • “Where do ecological ideas come from? …Most do not spring deductively from the minds of ecologists, like Athena from the head of Zeus. Instead, they emerge when ecologists absorb the essential spirit of individual places– their genius loci.”

    ~Mary V. Price & Ian Billick, "The Ecology of Place"
  • “Aloha is the intelligence with which we meet life.”

    ~Olana A'i, Kumu Hula

  • “I no longer say ‘Hawaiian ways of knowing’ anymore. Because people relegate that to the margins. ‘Ways of knowing,’ as if it’s a quaint, anthropologic way of describing something outside us. No, it’s ‘epistemology,’ the philosophy of knowledge. Land educates. ‘Ike ‘aina. The land of your birth educates you. This land here educates you.”

    ~Manu Meyer

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