Summer 2018 has been year of the blueback herring – at least in my book! Beginning in May, I adopted thousands of blueback herring eggs and together with my tech, have been carefully rearing them from eggs, to larvae, to juveniles. Blueback herring are very small when they hatch (~4 mm), meaning they have small mouths and require live plankton (like rotifers and brine shrimp).
Keeping the plankton alive, feeding the fish, and cleaning/maintaining the tanks are enough to keep us extremely busy, 7 days a week! Needless to say, I love watching the blueback herring grow a little more every day. Just like any proud parent, I have put together a baby photo book. Even if you don’t think fish are cute, give these little babies a chance!
The real parents
Figure 1. Wild river herring were brought to the lab to spawn eggs, which were then placed into my tanks. Thank you real parents! (Video by Lian Guo)
Figure 2. Once the eggs have been fertilized, the inner cells divide, differentiate, and become little blueback herring larvae, seen here making their first movements inside the egg! (Video by Lian Guo)
Figure 3. These goofy larvae (~ 5 mm) are all eyes and translucent bodies. Once they’ve finished their yolk sac they’re onto bigger and better food sources, like plankton! (photo by Lian Guo)
Figure 4. The fish continue to grow larger and their squiggly bodies can be clearly seen in the tanks (top photo). I’m just waiting for these beauties to start silvering and be large enough for me to start my experiments! (photos by Lian Guo)
I’m certainly a proud fish mama. Check out another graduate student’s trials in adopting non-human babies for research, the bird edition!
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