Studying fish larvae behaviour

One definition of behaviour is "the way an animal reacts to a stimulus from its environment". This is what we strive to explore in the case of fish larvae with this year's PUF funding. We record the characteristics of the physical environment of fish larvae, their orientation behaviour and then try to relate the two. We achieve this with the Drifting In Situ Chamber, an instrument co-developed by Claire Paris in RSMAS and myself in Villefranche. But the ability to orient would be nothing without the ability to move at significant speed. So we also measure the swimming speed of those fish larvae by making them swim against a flow of know velocity. Both aspects are completely unexplored in the Mediterranean.

This work was started with the help of two interns from the Master in Oceanography and Marine Environment (OEM) of Université Pierre et Marie Curie. Agathe Blandin (for the orientation part) and Elysanne Durand (for the swimming speed part) were efficient, dedicated and produced very good results. Together with Robin Faillettaz, the PhD student working on that project, and Federica Ferrando, an Erasmus intern working on the VISUFRONT cruise of last year but who lent a hand when needed, we formed a great team!

Fish larvae team

Now we are continuing the work on new species with Claire Paris who came from RSMAS to experience field work in the Mediterranean with us. We are making good progress and it is nice to have the original team reunited here. Still, we miss Agathe' and Elysanne's enthusiasm and efficacy and wish them a very good summer.