On Wednesday, the Icthyology campers went fishing on the Pocomoke River just a few minutes from the Field Station to learn about freshwater fish. The past few days of camp were focused on marine fishes, and campers used a variety of sampling methods to capture and identify different species.
Because one adventure isn’t enough for the day, they began the morning in the lab performing a shark dissection on an Atlantic sharpnose shark. With the help of educators Andrew and Jesse, campers got to learn about the anatomy of a shark up close.
After lunch time, campers visited a few sites on the Pocomoke River: one at the YMCA and one further up the river near the old draw bridge. Here, they caught and studied freshwater fish in two different systems: lotic (on the river) and lentic (in a pond).
The Pocomoke River is surrounded by different types of trees that affect the water and make it appear darker, the most common of which is the loblolly pine along with red maple and bald cypress trees. Campers were challenged to think about different adaptations that fish have to live in freshwater, marine, or brackish ecosystems. At the Y, there were bluegills and sunfish, and at the second stop along the upper Pocomoke River there were many channel catfish.
Campers compared the salinity of these waters and learned about osmoregulation, the process an organism undergoes to maintain homeostasis, or to keep its body fluids at the right level of salinity. They caught several different kinds of fish, including a pumpkinseed and many different sizes of channel catfish. When an averagely sunny day turned into pouring rain, these dedicated young scientists stayed out in the rain in a classic “you know you love marine science when” moment.
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