Hello everybody! I am back in action with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. If you missed out on the blog post from my summer internship with the CTUIR, then let me introduce myself! My name is Makana Stone and I am a senior majoring in Biology. I was funded by the WIG this past summer to do research with the CTUIR in the fisheries lab at the Walla Walla Community College – and I have been fortunate enough to continue working with the CTUIR this fall. Both the lab research I did this summer and the data analysis I’m doing now, is assisting the tribes in their efforts of reestablishing Pacific lamprey populations within the Columbia River Basin.
Pacific lamprey are ecologically and culturally valuable. These anadromous fish are important for nutrient exchange – among other things – and are fished by native tribes for cultural ceremonies. Population estimates have suggested that lamprey abundance has significantly decreased compared to historical numbers. Regional and tribal efforts, especially through adult lamprey translocation and releasing artificially propagated lamprey back into the wild, have proved to be effective means of population supplementation. On the other hand, there are still unknowns in regard to effectively culturing larval lamprey. The goal is to maximize larvae survival rates and the methods to which this goal is accomplished are under constant development.
How to properly disinfect lamprey cultures by determining which disinfectants to use, and what concentrations work best, to optimize propagation is the aim of my internship. CTUIR fisheries biologists have already acquired disinfectant data from years past. I am responsible for compiling and analyzing that data. Is iodophor, formalin, or salt more effective at killing parasites in larval culture water? What are the effects of these disinfectants on embryos? What are the effects on larvae? Answering these questions will assist biologists in developing current management practices.
Since the nature of this internship doesn’t require data collection in the lab, I work off site. The best part about my experience with the CTUIR and the opportunity the WIG has given me is that I now have a comprehensive understanding of work as a fisheries biologist. Over the summer I got a little taste of field work – snorkeling and collecting data on freshwater mussels, as well as out planting larvae. While I’ve determined that I love field work, I have to say I’m glad to be doing more data analysis and report writing – especially now that it’s snowing. Either way, I can say I’m o-fish-ally excited about fisheries biology!
Experiences like Makana’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Mitzy Rodriguez