Fan of Full Fathom Five? Be sure to check it out at its new home!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Records yield 200 years of fish population data

Dave Mosher's article Old, Ignored Records Yield 200 Years of Fish Population Data was published on Nov. 19, 2010 in Wired Science. Headlines such as "Old, Ignored Records" always make me smile--were they truly ignored? Hadn't they been cataloged and preserved in a library or archive? Of course, the article also uses the phrase "digging up," which also makes me smile--the researchers probably used carefully constructed catalogs and finding aids.

At any rate, the purpose to which they put these records was novel, using them as data sources for fish populations, and Dave Moser's article does provide a wonderful overview of their research, as well as a reminder that we can't always anticipate the future value of the materials preserved in libraries in archives.

Luckily, the product of the research, Coding Early Naturalists' Accounts into Long-Term Fish Community Changes in the Adriatic Sea (1800–2000) by Tomaso Fortibuoni, Simone Libralato, Saša Raicevich, Otello Giovanardi, and Cosimo Solidoro, is available for free online, including their interesting list of books that were analyzed as "Table S1," available as a Word document.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Is SF Bay fished out?

The December 2-7, 2010, edition of the East Bay Express features Alastair Bland's article, Is San Francisco Bay Fished Out? Even if you're not interested in California's fishery issues, the article is worth reading--the issues that Bland explores impact more than SF Bay's fishers, and more than the area that we think of as San Francisco Bay.

Reading the article made me realize that when I gaze out on the Bay's waters, I see only the surface. I don't see, and often don't think about, the ecosystem beneath the water's surface. I also don't keep in mind that the "boundary" between salt and fresh water is, if you'll forgive the pun, a fluid one. For example, the salmon fishery in California is one that can't be thought of in terms of "marine" or "fresh" waters--reading Bland's article reminded me that California's fishery issues can not be limited to discussions of catching the fish in the salty Bay's waters without considering the issues confronting the fishery upstream, in the fresh waters of the state's interior.

In addition, we can't limit our discussions to the fishers on the water--the issues facing the fisherman don't begin or end on the deck, but reach into the markets and restaurants where we consumers create the demand, and into the hearts of those of us devoted to that moment when we feel the tug of our dinner on the pole in our hands.

I recommend this article to anyone interested in any salt water fishery, past or present--Bland's featuring the fishers in SF Bay creates an awareness of the wider world in which the fish, the fishers, and the diners live. And when we keep in mind the fact that some fish are long-lived, long-distance champions, populating the oceans that circle the globe, it lends greater meaning to the resources, and traditions, that went into putting that filet on our plate.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Crochet Coral Reef in D.C. and N.Y.

Once again, The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef is on exhibit! If you're in Washington D.C. or New York City, you have a chance to visit the The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (D.C.), or the portion of it that's on display at the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (New York). In addition, crocheters have created the Smithsonian Community Reef, which is on display with Hyperbolic Reef in D.C.

Whether or not you can go in person, the Smithsonian has provided wonderful resources to enjoy the exhibit remotely. This month the Smithsonian Magazine has a great article by Jess Righthand about the exhibit and the community's creations, and the exhibit website is full of links to resources such as the Flickr and Ravelry groups, as well as links for further information on reefs, hyperbolic space, and how to create your own coral reef creations that you can photograph and share online.

My thanks to my friend Kate for sending this information along!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Dave Porter in the South Seas

Illustration from p.179
"Another flash lit up the scene."

Illustration by I.B. Hazelton, from the Project Gutenberg edition of Dave Porter in the South Seas, or, The Strange Cruise of the Stormy Petrel, by Edward Stratemeyer (1862-1930).