Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
 
 
cma
 
News Splash

Midnight research studying grunion

Research takes place in the lab, out in the field and when it comes to grunion, sometimes even well-past midnight. For five months of the year, Aquatic Nursery staff and volunteers head to the beach every two weeks to study grunion, a fascinating, sardine-sized fish that comes ashore to spawn on sandy beaches beneath the light of the moon in Southern California.

“The grunion’s predictable reproductive cycle makes researching them convenient since Cabrillo Beach is one of the best places to observe grunion spawn,” said CMA Research Curator Kiersten Darrow. “Each night the Aquarium hosts a public grunion run event, we set up a research station on the beach to collect sperm and eggs and document data on grunion.”

Aquatic Nursery staff take advantage of the special research perks mating grunion provide…fresh sperm and eggs in perfect condition to be cryogenically frozen and saved for later. Staff and volunteers catch grunion on the beach, take them back to the research station, remove sperm and eggs, measure each fish, document the timing of the run and release grunion back into the ocean.

“Our goal is to build up a bank of frozen reproductive material and hopefully be able to successfully fertilize eggs and do grunion hatchings throughout the year,” said Darrow. “But before we get to that point, we have to master the art of freezing and unthawing grunion eggs evenly because their increased density compared to surface area makes the process trickier.”

Since 2003, Aquatic Nursery researchers have also tracked the number of fish on the beach using quadrants, which involves laying squares on the beach, counting the number of fish inside and then comparing the numbers over time. Through the data gathered, researchers are also hoping to correlate the viability and health of offspring with when spawning takes place during grunion season.

“All the grunion research we’re doing is a great way for guests to learn more about these fascinating fish and participate in the scientific process,” said Darrow. “We love it when they bring grunion to the research station during open season; it makes our work so much easier and it makes a late night seem shorter.”

The Aquatic Nursery also collaborates on other grunion research projects including a study on physiology at California State University-Fullerton and a study on genetics at the University of California-Irvine. For several years, CMA researchers also assisted the University of Pepperdine with research on grunion embryology and development.

For more detailed information on grunion reproductive habits, please visit our grunion page.

Post Date: Thursday, July 10, 2014

Share

Facebook icon  Linkedin icon  StumbleUpon icon  Twitter icon 
 

    News Archive


          9/1/2014 Discovery Lecture Series (Featured)
          8/18/2014 FREE Public Tours
          7/10/2014 Midnight research studying grunion
          6/12/2014 Stay Connected to CMA
          6/3/2014 Tesoro Donates $50,000
          3/12/2014 Delving into Sustainable Seafood
          3/3/2014 Ocean Discovery Kits
          2/7/2014 Sweetheart Savings for Gala
          1/29/2014 Sustainable Seafood Event
          1/13/2014 New Executive Director
          1/1/2014 Let's go whale watching!
          12/6/2013 Little Squirts is Moving
          11/20/2013 Help FCMA Raise $15,000
          11/13/2013 Sea stars wasting away
          11/4/2013 From Junior Docent to Junior Leader
          10/27/2013 Sharks belong in the ocean
          10/21/2013 Help FCMA win $5,000
          9/23/2013 Making a Difference
          9/16/2013 CMA Receives Top Honor
          9/9/2013 CMA in the News
          8/30/2013 Symbiotic Copepoda Workshop
          8/19/2013 FRIENDS Announces Marine Science Scholarship Winners
          8/5/2013 Robots Storm CMA
          7/24/2013 PADI Internship Program
          7/9/2013 Story time in CMA's library
          6/28/2013 Summer in the Aquatic Nursery
          6/14/2013 Become a Sea Ranger
          6/3/2013 Stung! Jellyfish blooms
          5/28/2013 Lights, Camera, Ocean!
          5/23/2013 Students celebrate Earth Day the CMA way
          5/13/2013 Scholarships Offered
          5/12/2013 CMA Kids News
          5/9/2013 Grand Grunion Gala A Smashing Success
          4/15/2013 Student Research Highlights
          3/15/2013 World Ocean Network
          3/4/2013 Middle school students spend Sundays with science
          2/17/2013 White Abalone Spawning
          2/4/2013 Earth Day Poster and Photo Contest
          1/29/2013 Introducing the pipefish
          1/22/2013 An animal’s conservation status
          1/9/2013 Experience a worm’s eye-view in the mud tunnel
          12/31/2012 Books about CMA
          12/21/2012 Exploration Center: You oughta be in ocean pictures
          12/14/2012 Rare bird spotted near CMA
          12/12/2012 Start a free table at work
          12/7/2012 Camouflage: the art of blending in
          11/26/2012 Announcing a new species!
          11/13/2012 Ocean Children's Books
          11/5/2012 School groups: Paying one can at a time
          10/31/2012 Exhibits and Collections Curator elected SCAS President
          10/22/2012 Argonaut at CMA
          10/20/2012 Wash your car the ocean way
          10/12/2012 Aquatic Nursery: A new role for red abalone
          10/5/2012 The 8th International Aquarium Congress
          10/1/2012 Danielle’s First 100 Days
          9/29/2012 Ocean Outreach Team
          9/24/2012 Sea Otter Awareness Week
          9/23/2012 The CMA Gift Shop: A personal shopping experience
          9/13/2012 Free audio tour available
          9/10/2012 SEA Club is a great way for kids to spend an afternoon
          8/29/2012 Phillips 66 Supports CMA
          8/23/2012 What’s on CMA’s Menu?
          8/11/2012 It's Shark Week!
          8/10/2012 Congratulations Scholarship Winners!
          8/2/2012 Looking under the microscope in the Exploration Center
          7/20/2012 Students earn CMA field trip
          7/19/2012 Become a FRIENDS of CMA Community Sponsor!
          6/27/2012 Youth On Board
          6/14/2012 Celebrate National Lobster Day
          6/8/2012 Underwater Park System
          6/7/2012 The Nausicaá Connection
          6/1/2012 Intel Innovation Showcase
          5/3/2012 A Career in Marine Biology
          3/3/2012 "Youth on Board" Video Contest
          2/28/2012 CMA Awarded Grant for Tidewater Goby Education
          2/28/2012 Flashback: A Page Out of CMA History
          1/17/2012 "Amazing Aquariums"
          1/6/2012 Cabrillo Marine Aquarium Is Accessible to All
          11/16/2011 New Education Curator
          11/15/2011 CMA Staff Members Tour SA Recycling
          11/14/2011 Inner Cabrillo Beach Survey: You Never Know What You Might Find!
          10/27/2011 Mommy and Me Class at CMA?
          10/19/2011 Jellies Travel the World
          10/3/2011 Practice Safe Whale Watching
          9/19/2011 A Clean Sweep!
          9/8/2011 Volunteer Spotlight
          8/15/2011 Become a Volunteer Research Intern
          8/3/2011 It's Shark Week
          7/29/2011 Mutant Crab at CMA
          2/10/2011 New Animal Care Center
          1/2/2011 A Tribute to John M. Olguin
          9/27/2010 AZA Honors CMA
          2/2/2010 75 Years Young!
          9/22/2009 $30,000 Grant Received!
          6/23/2009 CA State Marine Fish Babies Growing at CMA!
          1/10/2009 Piglet Squid
          7/14/2008 One In A Million
   
 
cma