“Fishing trip”

Two of our professors, Marc Frischer and Gus Paffenhöffer and their research teams are taking the R/V Savannah out for a four-day “fishing trip.”

R/V Savannah

R/V Savannah

However, marlin and swordfish have nothing to fear from these guys. They are hunting the elusive doliolid (doe-lee-OH-lid). “What is a doliolid?” You may ask.

Doliolid

Doliolid

It is a tiny, not quite microscopic, gelatinous organism that looks a little like a beer barrel and occasionally “swarms” in the waters on the continental shelf. A single doliolid ranges in size from about the size of the period at the end of this sentence to about the size of the letter “o.”

Drs. Frischer and Paffenhöffer are working on a NSF grant funded project to find out more about these little creatures, especially what they eat and what eats them. Decreasing pH in the ocean could cause these little critters to proliferate. Right now, we know very little about how they live and where they fit in to the whole food-web scheme of things.

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