Snow cyclones, sunfish & stable isotopes: We’re goin’ to America!!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a Happy Molidaes and apologies for the long delay in posting a new blog, the end of 2017 was a pretty crazy time… but I am delighted to announce that the sunfish research has started a new chapter and I am writing to you today from Albuquerque, New Mexico where I will be working for the next two months!

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Our plans for collaborating with the Newsome lab at the University of New Mexico started in 2017, and so in the last few days of December I hopped across the pond to bring our sunfish research state-side! I was lucky enough to spend a week in frozen Boston when the “snow-bomb” hit, making the entire city into a winter wonderland, with ski jumps built in the city park and temperatures dropping to -20oC! Stunning scenery aside, the real reason I wanted to stop off en route to New Mexico was of course, a fishy one.

I was delighted to finally meet with fellow sunfish enthusiast Krill Carson, who runs the New England Basking Shark and Ocean Sunfish Project (check out their cool work saving stranded fish & running amazing outreach programmes etc. here: http://www.nebshark.org). Krill had very kindly offered to collect some samples for me during the 2017 sunfish season (as some of the world’s largest sunfishes strand here on the shifting sand banks). We had a wonderful day selecting samples at Bridgewater State University and I am so grateful for the additional dataset!

After the chaos caused by the weather, I was so lucky that my flights to New Mexico were still on time and I flew away from the freezing weather in New England to the desert climes of Albuquerque! Sunfish samples unpacked, I am currently at the University of New Mexico where I am being hosted by Prof. Seth Newsome and his PhD student Emma Elliot-Smith! I realise how lucky I am to be here in this world-leading facility and I hope over the next few months to generate some new data to reveal a little more about our mysterious friend, the ocean sunfish!!

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Watch this space…

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