Tweets from the American Elasmobranch Society: Biology and Conservation of Rays Symposium

AESlogoThe American Elasmobranch SocietyAmerican Elasmobranch Society is a non-profit professional organization of shark, ray, skate, and chimaera scientists. Each year, AES holds an annual conference in a different North American city where members meet and present their research. The 2013 meeting took place in Albuquerque, New Mexico from July 10-15th. The full schedule of talks (including other societies participating in the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists) can be found here.

Presented here are selected tweets from the Biology, Ecology, and Management of Durophagous Stingrays Symposium at the 2013 American Elasmobranch Society meeting.

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#RaysTheRoof : Research symposium will focus on the biology and conservation of stingrays


July 10-15th in Albuquerque!

July 10-15th in Albuquerque! I hope to see you there!

The upcoming Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists will include a research symposium focusing on the biology and conservation of durophagous (shell-eating) stingrays. Organized by Dr.’s Matt Ajemian (Texas A&M University Corpus Christi) and Julie Neer (Southeast Data Assessment and Review), this symposium aims to gather together the world’s experts on these ecologically important and poorly understood animals.  It will include more than 15 research presentations, as well as a Q&A panel discussion and poster session.

Though they were once best known for their visually stunning schooling behavior, durophagous rays like the cownose ray are now considered a pest species by many fishers because of their perceived role in the collapse of shellfish stocks in the Chesapeake Bay and elsewhere. This has led to a misguided targeted fishing campaign called “eat a ray, save the bay“. With their slow growth and  limited reproductive rate, this is a receipt for a conservation disaster, particularly when paired with the extremely limited regulations governing the fishery. The symposium will cover this issue as well as the current state of biology and conservation of other durophagous stingrays, including spotted eagle rays and other perceived pest species like the Japanese longheaded eagle ray.

For those of you attending the Joint Meeting, this symposium will take place Friday, July 12th from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 P.M. (mountain time) . If you’re not attending the meeting, follow along on twitter with #RaysTheRoof (and #AES2013 / #JMIH2013, the conference hashtags). We’ll take question from twitter during the Q&A!

Circle Hooks Save Fish

When you work on the water long enough, you encounter some unique situations.  Whether it’s getting stranded during field work, surviving massive seasickness, having your equipment attacked by hostile sea life, or just seeing something unusual, these anecdotes are an important part of what makes marine science fun (sometimes moreso in hindsight).  That’s why I’m creating a new category for posts here called “Fish Tales,” where we can share these stories.  To start with, here is a literal fishing story.

While I was down in Morehead City for some field work (post on that coming soon), I got the chance to do a little fishing with fellow Southern Fried writers Andrew and Amy and check on potential sites for shark sampling this summer.  I’d wanted to test out a new fishing rod set up for sharks and large fish, and had rigged up a wire leader with a size 12/0 circle hook.  While casting, it became very clear that I hadn’t properly attached the leader to the swivel when I pulled back an empty swivel where the leader had been.  Frustrating, but I’m practically required to lose gear every time I fish, so I rigged up a second wire leader with a J-hook that was on hand.

Circle hooks are used by recreational and commercial hook-and-line fisheries (and many longliners) to reduce hooking mortality in large fishes, sharks, and bycatch animals like sea turtles.  The idea is that the hook more or less works by itself without being set like a J-hook.  The shape of the hook prevents swallowing and encourages hooking in the corner of the mouth, where it’s less likely to do serious damage.

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Introducing the Southern Fried Science Class of 2013!

I am thrilled beyond measure to announce that, after 3 years blogging as a trio, we are welcoming four new authors to the ranks of Southern Fried Science. You will, know doubt recognize these familiar faces from around our humble corner of the ocean blogosphere.  The incredible Southern Fried Science Class of 2013 includes:

ChuckprofilephotoChuck Bangley

Chuck is a former Rhode Islander attending graduate school in North Carolina.  He combines his dual interests in sharks and seafood by researching the interactions between marine apex predators and fisheries, with a focus on U.S. fisheries management.  Chuck’s field misadventures and older posts on fisheries science can be found at Ya Like Dags?, and he can be followed on Twitter (@SpinyDag) and Google+.



Lyndell comes to us from People, Policy, Planet and Save Our Sharks. She is currently finishing her M.Sc. in Biology, using genetic techniques to investigate the feeding ecology of cownose rays in North Carolina and Chesapeake Bay. You can follow her on twitter at @lyndellmbade and on Google+.


100x100ed BC salmon profile pic

Iris Kemp

Iris joins us from Alevin to Adult, where she blogs about salmon. She is currently finishing her MS in Aquatic & Fisheries Sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle where she studies causes of variable growth and survival of Puget Sound salmon. You can follow Iris via twitter and LinkedIn.


sfs meMichael Bok

Michael is finishing up his PhD in Biology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He works on the visual ecology of the mantis shrimp, a specious order of marine crustaceans that boast the fastest strike, worst disposition, and most complex (convoluted) visual system in the world. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+.