Hi, my name is Chloe Hansum and I am studying Biology and Environmental Science at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa. This summer I was privileged to work with Dr. Alison Deary at the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center. I worked in the Ecosystems & Fisheries-Oceanography Coordinated Investigations Laboratory (Eco-FOCI), looking at Arctic Cod (Boreogadus saida) development and identifying developmental milestones. Over the summer, I learned a great deal not only about research but also information about graduate school and career advice.
Arctic cod play a key role in the Arctic ecosystem connecting energy from small species such as zooplankton to marine mammals and sea birds. Understanding Arctic cod early life history allows for better management of the species and therefore better management of the ecosystem as a whole.
For my project, I first examined Arctic cod collected from the Chuckchi Sea in 2017. First, I built a developmental series ranging from specimen 5mm to 55mm increasing by 1mm. I learned a technique called clearing and staining, used to examine bone development. Clearing and staining shows in red when the bones have ossified and in blue when the bones are cartilage. After clearing and staining each specimen, I used an image analysis software to photograph and measure each individual. I took a different body measurements and counted fin rays. All of this data was compiled and then analyzed using R. My results suggested that Artic cod turn from a larva to a juvenile at 30-44mm.
Along with my research, I also enjoyed exploring Seattle and the surrounding area with the other interns. I was also able to assist a graduate student for a week, conducting river snorkel surveys to count salmon. I have found this summer to be very rewarding and I am so thankful for all those who have helped along the way! I am so thankful for Dr. Deary and all her support to have a successful project. Special thanks to Jed and the Eco-FOCI team for all of their help this summer!