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Journals 2009/2010

Daphne Rawlinson
West University Elementary, Houston, Texas

"Sound Localization in Plainfin Midshipman Fish"
Bodega Bay Marine Lab, Bodega Bay, California
July 17 - July 26, 2009
Journal Index:
July 17 - 18 - 19 - 20 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24
      25 - 26

July 22, 2009
It's A Mystery ... Revealed

Collecting specimens was exciting today. We had a visitor. A harbor seal came within 20 feet of the shoreline today while we were collecting our specimens. We all assume the little guy was investigating us. What an awesome sight!

We had the honor of attending a special lecture given by Dr. Bass on the evolution of vocalization and the Plainfin Midshipmen Fish. Dr. Bass is a professor at Cornell University in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior.

His lecture highlighted many facts about the Plainfin Midshipmen Fish. A few detailed facts are as follows:

  • Plainfin Midshipmen Fish are about 7mm in length when they hatch.
  • Type I males care for their offspring.
  • Current scientific research suggests that habitat overcrowding plays a significant role in males developing into type II "sneaker" males instead of type I males.
  • Only type I males can attract a female to the nest with their "singing".
  • Type II males have a very small nonfunctioning swim bladder. Therefore, they can not "sing" and can not attract females.
  • A single female can lay between 150 - 200 eggs. The number of eggs increases with body size.
  • Plainfin Midshipmen Fish are nocturnal.

Dr. Bass also shared a story about the Plainfin Midshipmen Fish and a small fishing community in Sausalito, California. Back in the '80s, people living in houseboats in Sausalito were awakened nightly by some loud humming noise. The people had many theories on where the noise was coming from including the Navy. It took five years for a marine biologist from the California Academy of Sciences to solve the problem. The Plainfin Midshipmen Fish were to blame for the noise. You can read more about this fascinating story at the following link.

After the lecture, Maria and I went for a walk on the Bodega Marine Lab Reserve. The landscape, tide pools and wildlife were beautiful.

Maria and Daphne
Bodega Marine Lab Locals (California Sea Lions)

Tide Pools