Kirill Kuzischin, Elisabeth Arnold
Fish examinations. Includes comments by unidentified people.
Kirill Kuzischin, Elisabeth Arnold
Discuss departure plans. Includes unidentified voices.
Camp site ambiance
Includes chainsaw sounds.
Kirill Kuzischin, Elisabeth Arnold
NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
1 Oct 2002
- Kamchatka Peninsula
- 56.47139 159.42993
Subject 1, 2, 5, 6 are decoded MS stereo. Spaced omni mics used for Subjects 3, 4.
Log of DAT #: 5
Engineer: Michael Schweppe
Date: October 1 & 2, 2002
238. Are you finding the one you need. You know I have a 10pounder in my box if you¿
The only thing is took more than one to convert pounds.
Well, that's easily done back at the laboratory.
It's one kilo and one hundred grams.
Ok, let's do it.
Hmmhmm. All righty. His favorite expression.
26, 53, 35, 67, 55, 44, 8, 70...
Kirill continues to call out numbers to Bonny.
What in the heck were you just counting?
Hmm? Lateral line. You see these little dots here.
It's the holes, it's the channel which has lots of holes outside, and the water was pressing on the body of the fish influencing on little hairs on the basis of each hole and fish can feel long wave sounds (Nick: vibrations) And that's why fish can hear very very good in the water. It can hear everything. The short range high frequency sounds its hearing by the internal ear, but long waves sounds it feels with this one. So if you throw a rock in the pool, fish will feel it with their lateral line.
I was hoping you weren't counting the spots. (Laughing)
(Bonny: we'd be here awhile)
11, 10 Kirill continues counting lateral lines
Now, let's take skins.
Ambi: sound of cutting skins
And once more for fin clip.
Ambi: cutting sound (with scissors?)
We'll take a little piece of tissue for DNA sample.
From the fin.
It doesn't matter. We need cells, which has nuclear DNA. Each part of the body of the fish will be available. It doesn't matter what kind of tissue is. We come to agreement to take adipose fin because from fish that we are releasing it is easier to take this fin without harming the fish. And now the most horrible operations. Nick can you assist?
Luckily it's on radio so you don't have to see it.
What are we doing?
You'll see soon enough.
No tell us.
So I'm taking the eye tissues for enzyme analysis. There are specific enzymes that are located in the eye. And they're _____ between populations and they're _______ between rainbow steelhead from North America and from Asia. That's why we're taking these tissues for ID and identifying of stocks. So, this black tissue is what we need in.
The goop around the eyeball. I guess huh?
You believe you already found differences in populations that come from brown water rivers as opposed to clear water.
(EA: from the eye?)
From the eye, enzymes, it was done on Atlantic salmon and it was shown the junos of Atlantic salmon, which lives in rivers with brown water, have different enzyme and their eyes comparing to ones that live in clear water. So it means that it is adaptation. Maybe fish with alternative enzyme or great.
Fish can see much better in the brown water so, it's interesting.
Cutting sound while Kirill dissects fish.
So this is male. Male four.
Sound of writing
Let's scale this __________. This will be interesting. This male will take part in¿supposed to be a spawn next spring.
Bonny, do you have a quart ziploc, an empty quart ziploc's a little easier. I've got the scale. I just wanted to use a smaller ziploc, which is just less bag weight. I can go get one.
(Bonny: Yeah not handy)
I'll go grab one. I can do that.
First label scale one gonad. And then the other. SO it is 25 grams and plus.
(EA: what was it?)
It's the gonads of male.
Got it. I pull the stuff out all the time I just never know what it is.
25 grams for the...
For the first and 42 for the second. They're different in size. So now let's take fat. This fish is pretty fat.
Do _____ fish? I just didn't know that fish spawned multiple times.
Yes. Not all but Pacific salmon spawn only once in their life. Steelhead from 1 to 8 times.
And the older the fish the bigger the fish, the bigger the fish, more eggs it can produce and this topic is studied by Nick. He is trying to construct to elaborate the model based on fecundity of freshwater and anadromous fish.
You wanted these gonads Nick?
(Nick: yeah if you have them)
Unfortunately I've thrown it into the bucket. It's lying right here on the top.
And this is the completers of the other one there. There's not another part of the pair? I don't want to get two fish worth.
Kirill: Small. Yes this one. I weighted it Nick.
Bonny: I weighed it
Kirill: 25 plus 42
Nick: Oh you already did?
Nick: Oh oh. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to.
Kirill: You just wanted to know the weight of it?
Nick: Yeah for these.
Kirill: We already did it.
Nick: Well, I'll use it for the next one. I didn't realize they were the clip for the scale so without being in a bag. And it's weight body was?
Bonny: The total weight? 1.1
Nick: Now that's the fish, the gonads?
Bonny: 25 and 42
Something in the stomach. I suspect that it is a mouse.
First we will take liver, also for enzyme analysis. And then we will open the stomach to see what this fish had for its lunch.
Ambi: Sound of dissecting fish, like cutting with scissors
Ambi: Good squishy sounds of fish being dissected.
Yes it is mouse. You see? The snout of the mouse, the teeth of it.
Oh...Whoah! How does a fish eat that!?
Or could that be an ermine?
No it's a mouse because two teeth.
So the mouse is swimming in the water?
Kirill: Falling down in the water...
EA: and fighting to stay afloat ...
Kirill: ...and rainbow is looking for it.
EA: Wow¿he didn't even chew it. He just swallowed it whole.
Sometimes you'll see these guys scurrying across the surface of the river and rainbow will just jump up and grab it.
I think we should get a shot of that for the website don't you think?
That's why for rainbows on Kamchatka very successful fly button is mouse.
Oh yeah. Mousefly. I always thought that was so silly now I don't. Someone blows their nose. A fly that looks like a mouse.
Yeah I didn't understand what Kirill said, but I get it now.
You know you don't think that a fish could eat something that big. You don't think they could just go ¿haaaawk¿
It was about six inches long wasn't it.
17.45 Kirill and EA
MS: I'm so glad we had lunch first.
Bonny: Does it help?
MS: Does it matter?
EA: I used to have to process fish for a living, and we used to find interesting things in King Salmon.
MS: Like what?
Bonny: Plastic, jars...
EA: Big things like boots
Kirill: No Chinook is very delicate thing. It's only sharks can eat license plates of cars.
EA: License plates.
Ambi: crunching, tearing sound
Well, if you ever get sick of being a scientist you could always get a job filleting fish couldn't you.
Bonny last year said if you will be fired as a scientist you can find your job on the fish market.
Bonny: Or a guide, a river guide.
EA: That's a pretty nice filet.
Kirill: No, you fired me yesterday.
Bonny: Oh right I did.
Bonny: Nick, could you pass me some more DNA files, the large ones. I think there's a sack over there perhaps?
Nick: these tissues?
Nick: How many more would you like.
Kirill: Not this one.
Bonny: That's empty
Kirill: With white caps.
Bonny: These short guys about three inches.
Nick: Ok, yeah I got them.
I know I keep thinking food the whole time they're chopping this up going hmm...that looks good. Looks like foie gras...we could have a little.
Kirill: Bonny, let's take
Looking for genetics analysis.
That's what I was thinking.
UH...you know I know that I'm wrong in my opinion, but I've never tried fresh fish but I think it is impossible to eat noncooked fish.
Really? You of all people. But maybe you of all people.
I do it all the time why do you say that?
EA: Because he works with it.
Bonny: Well we were working with a parisitologist last year.
Bonny: He'll give you a whole new insight to sushi
Kirill: No, not because of this.
Did you used to eat sushi and now you don't?
EA: Did you ever eat raw fish?
Kirill: No, never.
Bonny: It's just the thought of it.
Kirill: Never ever.
EA: But how ¿bout row?
Kirill: Row what is it?
But he knows how to prepare them very well.
With just light salting.
EA: What are you going after there?
Kirill: This is earbones. So called otoliths.
EA: Oh, the earbones. Important stuff.
Kirill: Very important because we can get the _______ signal. That means who was the mother of this fish. _________ or resident one.
EA: That's pretty new science right?
Kirill: It's advanced technology and so it is expensive to process with one otoliths, only one operation. You need 150 dollars with one otolith and piece of equipment with the help of which you can measure it. Maybe have the size of our dinner building. I'm right Bonny. Chris Zimmerman said¿
(Bonny: Yes you are)
The cost is very high and the size of this machine is tremendous. It's not what you can carry in the briefcase.
But the information is invaluable.
But they're technology is improving from year to year some source of analysis that was very expensive several years ago became routine now and if five years ago, one dna sample had a cost about 300 dollars each, now it's about 30.
EA: What use will you put all that information to. Very different? All different.
Kirill: Different. Hmmhmm.
Kirill: Hmm...life history _____. That mean is this fish estruarian, resident, _______, or what. Size weight. Age composition. Repetition of spawning. Events in their life. Sex ratio. Age of maturation. Age at smalting. The time that fish spends in freshwater before to leave unto the ocean.
EA: You can figure that out through...?
Kirill: From the scales.
EA: From the scales?
Kirill: And from otoliths too.
Bonny, can you pass me this morphometric card for description of the next customer. This one at the top.
(Bonny: Just give me something to right on)
So you can only hope that you can get a good cross section of what's in the river though. At any given time right? It can't be. It's whatever somebody catches or whatever happens to be in the net.
Yes we need in a laboratory.
Right here on the river.
Nick: This a jaw deformity
Kirill: Hmmhmm. Maybe somebody's hook when the fish was young.
EA: Oh yeah.
EA: Ok, it's probably your hook.
Nick: He's a real fast grower. Says something I can't understand
EA: Now you can't possibly do the same things with the juveniles can you?
Bonny: We do. Not all of them are istics but we do the same collection of tissues. Get the weight and the length, if it's male or female. The stomach contents. The little guys have been eating those little small catus flies. No mice for those.
EA: Mice are bigger than they are.
Kirill: Bonny, I will give you now two figures that will be the length like this
Bonny: Uhuh. I see.
Kirill: 480 and 443
Bonny: One is fork length and one is
Kirill: To the end of the scale...and girth is 27.
Kirill: 270 yes. .... One and two hundred.
Kirill, do you keep this information or does it go someplace else.
No. We are who and I'm particularly who will make all laboratory work with this information with this data then we transfer it into the information and we will put it onto the database and this database will be on the website.
We are uh, elaborated the protocols of how we're storing this information when we are in the field and um so we have very good spread sheets where one can find all information, what kind of tissues, measurements we did on each fish.
EA: So Bonny or Nick can access that...
Kirill: That's for sure.
Bonny: In fact that's what we're working on while you see us sitting at the computers everyday. We're logging all of these samples onto the computer and putting all of the information in there. And then it goes on to a website where we can both access from Russia and the US. It's maintained at the biological station.
EA: Well, it's a good thing we didn't catch lots of fish because you'd be here 24 hours a day.
Bonny: You don't know how much truth there is to that sometimes it's a relief when we see you come in and you haven't caught anything. We're like ahh...but we do need the specimens.
EA: Bonny, have you been at the camps where they've taught sponsors how to do scale samples and stuff like that?
Bonny: Yeah. Hmmhmm.
EA: How do you feel about that does that work.
Bonny: Oh it works great but mostly we teach the guides how to do that and so they're really in charge of that and they're with the sponsors when all of that is taken. SO we make sure we have really good quality control.
EA: Does it make you nervous as a scientist?
Bonny: No, not having all those guides, we have pretty strict controls over how it is done and work closely with them and they've been with us for a long time. So, it works well I think. And the sponsors can get so involved that they stop fishing and end up helping us instead which is good to see.
129 lateral line scales. So let's measure. Yes as last year John and Carla stop their fishing and well I prefer to see...
Everyone talking at once, hard to understand. Kirill continues to count. Bonny says there are some people she'd rather have fish than help.
MS: Why don't you just put it into your computer right away?
Bonny: If we had a, sometimes we are doing it outside because of the size of the fish in particular and as soon as we get proper funding so we have a laptop that's weather resistant we'll do that.
Kirill: 175 and 237. And the other thing. Well, I'm devoting all this information to the paper. If something will be wrong with the laptop, hard drive problems, electricity problems
Bonny: Everything is written paper as well, log books.
Kirill: when we have this paper, even if it will be wet we will have all this data available.
EA: I didn't bring my laptop. Doing all mine by pencil and paper.
Bonny: OK, AV was 237? AA was 231?
Bonny: Ok. I thought it ...
Kirill: 130, 88
Kirill what's the first thing you look at when you see a fish. What are you most interested in.
The shape of the body. Some patterns of coloration and some specific features for example is there black spots on the cheek or not. What's the shape of the tail. Has it little depression or it's cutted. What else. Is there black spots below the lateral line. The shape of the spots, for example this is x like, this is moon like. What else, is there cutthroat mark on the throat. Is there basic bronchial teeth, because cutthroat mark and basic bronchial teeth are the features of the other species, cutthroat trout. We know that some rainbows of Kamchatka have these features of North America cutthroat trout. What else? Coloration of the belly. The length of the pectoral fin compared to the pectoventral distance, like this, and some other.
That's a lot.
Can you tell from the rainbows if you have a male or a female?
Yes because males, I think this fish is male. Males have conic head like this has little kype (?) on the lower jaw and little depression on the upper jaw. I think this will be male.
We'll see. Well maybe it's little false trick because we know that 99% of rainbows in this river are males.
False trick. You got me. Good thing I didn't put money on it.
Why is that? Why 99%
Because females are _______ females. Females are carrying nutrients from ocean.
It's one of the life history types.
It's one of the life history types. This fish this rainbow will spawn with big size female on the spawn grounds. This will be the father and mother will be how many times bigger. But genetically they are the same.
20...then our scales.
So we haven't had a steelhead to look at yet have we?
Yes there has been one.
Nick mumbles yes in the background.
Ambi: sound of Kirill scraping scales from the fish.
Oh did we have one?
It was a girl.
She was a good size over thirty inches.
And fin clips.
Hmmhmm. I'm ready.
Do you see the scissors.
In New York, you'd probably get 25 bucks for that filet for an entrée.
We could help fund our research huh. Send back filets.
Do you need the eyeball on file Bonny?
Ambi: snipping of scissors, cutting fish tissue
And the fish is going ow!
Ok, this is really good sound. Clipping the eyeball out. We're talking over it but it's really good.
You should here it when we use the syringe.
For larger ones or¿
Up and down with the¿
We should here it in surround. Oh yeah.
It's something you could skip I think.
Especially for the morning show where they're eating breakfast.
Contact lenses. Yeah that's what it looks like.
So I guess you liked your first biology classes. Huh Kirill? Laughing. Slice up things?
Ambi: Sounds of dissecting: cutting, scraping
We'll see what's in the rest of it.
We'll see what's in whose stomach?
In one more stomach.
Male. The fourth stage.
Have a ziploc
Yeah. Let's see where's my ziploc from last time. Nick mumbles, not audible
And Bonny, fat?
If there's plenty.
Hmm...I can't say that it is plenty but we will find enough. This fish is big.
That's going to be a hard one to explain.
Oh yeah. The salmon lovers would get the trout lovers of America all upset.
So Bonny, you not only want to catch a steelhead. You want to catch a steelhead.
Yeah, I do. I like to fish. OK thank you.
40.08 Nick (in the background)
80 grams for the gonads. Together combined weight.
But for more than one reason.
You had a female with eggs?
No. This is¿
That was doing...that's the steelhead. That one is the steelhead from this morning.
That's a nice resident fish.
Maybe its estruarian. I am not ready to make my decision.
Have to look at the scales.
So the residents are all male mature?
The residents are all males.
Thus far, these samples, and mature. Getting' it ready before winter.
41.08 Jack or Guido
Steelhead daddies are mainly resident males. It's far out.
41.20 Jack or Guido
And it's due to the presence of these clams, (laughing) these fresh water clams
(Bonny: Also on the red list)
...that have villagers that are specific to resident fish.
You should see the fat on the steelhead, they're just packed with fat.
Are they really? Just loaded huh?
Well, I don't know we've only looked at one...If our fishermen were better.
So what are they eating that this guys not eating.
They're eating ocean food.
They have enough supplies to stay in the in winter
(EA: over winter)
They're generally not eating in the river.
Whereas these guys don't...
Except for the occasional yellow and orange fly.
Not only last year our ___tologist showed that steelhead is feeding in the freshwaters a little bit and we didn't find any food in their stomachs while we did our dissection, but it doesn't mean anything because the food can be processed in the stomach very quickly.
So they had picked up freshwater parasites.
Hmmm...they go up their freshwater parasites from little juvenile fish that they're feeding.
What became of that fancy knife that I bought?
We should try it.
Kirill likes his own tools.
So does Sergei. He wouldn't let me touch his knife. Stay away from my knife.
________ for liver.
Yes, I'm sorry I was looking for the lid. Do you happen to have the lid to this?
I don't see it.
It fell of the table.
Yeah sittin' right there. Oh that's the ______.
Person talking hard to understand
Weigh a gonad or two and jot down the number and hold the eye vial. Kirill extracts the eyeball from...
So, stomach is empty.
Empty, no mouse.
Couldn't find a mouse.
Last one had mouse.
See, I was just telling Guido that we can't study these fish without doing a census of the mice and other small rodents, small mammals that live along the river in the floodplain. We had that mammal trapping in there. Yeah we have to do that.
Cause we've got three now right?
Did you see the, was the mouse in here?
MS talking to Nick, sound of crunching leaves as they are walking.
Talking about departure.
46.52 EA in the distance
You want to get your momentum departure and just depart.
Well, that's right but the momentous departure's going to be a walk that a way across the field.
Oh, is that what you're going to do.
Yeah, we're just going to walk up to the dog pound and Bonnie and Kirill can come and get us when they're done playing with those dead fish.
Oh, and then you can take off.
Yeah then we can go on, so...
Oh, ok. So the dog pound is just up there?
Up around the corner. So you gotta go through that stand of trees and ___ you can't see at the where those alder trees are the first row of tree straight ahead of us is a little bit of a back channel in there...
What was that?
That was a vul.
That was a vul that just walked by, well scurried by sorry. He wasn't dragging a salmon or trout.
We have that on the brain after seeing him pull is out of his stomach.
Nick asks questions about sounds, recording and editing sounds for story.
Now the final stage of the sampling. We're putting our material into the liquid nitrogen.
What does the liquid nitrogen do?
Freezing it up. The temperature of liquid nitrogen is maybe 170 centigrades below zero.
Ambi: Sounds of machine freezing DNA
Why do they have to be kept so cold.
Because it keeps it alive, enzymes, fat, they are not ruining the parts and they are storing completely as they are in the fish.
49.52 Bonny (faintly in the background)
And dry ice just won't last as long...
So scales and everything?
Scales will be stored in dried, so some samples we will put in the alcohol. It's also preserved excellent and only muscles, eyes, liver, we're putting into the liquid nitrogen.
And now, you need more samples.
We're headed out for more samples.
Outside, walking. People talking in the background.
Ambi: Boat starts up.
Talking about the loud boat noise.
Talking about person who owns the camp and the helicopter.
Ambi: boat starts again
Last year when we were here ______________, more anglers regularly coming in for the season so they had a little bigger staff of two women, Victor's wife and Igor's wife. Igor's wife speaks almost perfect English. She's from a local village here on the coast. She taught English at a uh, I think in Essel, and at the end of the one week when one of the groups left, I guess it was when we were going to leave too, at the end of our week there was a party here for about 5 or 6 people, she made little going away gifts and for me she wrote, because I'd always come in with a scientific paper and have coffee in the morning, she made this wonderful little heart shaped piece of paper and wrote this haiku, this 4 or 5 line poem. It was just so touching.
Ambi: More Boat sounds
Will you take us to dog pound. Take me and Nick to dog pound.
Russian person speaking.
Ambi: Boat starts up again.
Ambi: Boat fades away
Guys talking about catching fish.
Ambi: At camp, chainsaw going.
Ambi: MS rustling about
Ambi: Dog barking in background
Ambi: Russians speaking in background
Ambi: water splash
Ambi: chainsaw starts up again
Ambi: Chainsaw stops, sounds of walking on wood. Some water noises.
OK we're back to MS.
Ambi: Walking on gravel
Kirill does it matter whether the fish are caught by a fly or caught by a net? Does it make any difference?
No, no difference. We made statistics and the most expectable thing that can ride between fly rod and net is sex ratio. Some people think that males are more aggressive than females, while other people think vice versa and we use the same, we use the gill net and we use the rods at the same time. So there is not any difference in the catch insects ratio in length, in size of fish. Just nothing. It's absolutely the same.
So if it was true you would have caught more males by fly, but it's not true.
1.14.55 Kirill (Talking as he cuts a tree branch)
We checked. At the first years of the project we made all these comparisons to figure out where we are mistaken but the data that we got show that we are making no mistakes. Sometimes in some situations, fly rod can provide for us little bigger fish than gill net or sane. Because big fish are strong, they can escape from sane or the mesh sides of the gill net is not fit to the fish and big ones coming out while it doesn't matter big fish or small fish, is on your hook, but it's statistically was not significant. It's big fish is rare in the watershed and both in gillnets and in the catches of flyrod, the ratio of this fish is about the same.
Now, I assume you're trying to get as wide a spectrum of fish to look at from this area as you can. So you have a lot of small fish right? And then some big and you need some...
Hmm...I don't know. Sometimes it depends on the size of the river, but not here. We know definitely that one of the smallest steelhead rivers of Kamchatka is not a _______ river, has steelhead of the biggest average size. ....Good size fish.
So Kirill, what are you doing here?
I'm making a handle for our little minnow sane, to look who lives in the backwaters. Backwaters of the salmon rivers are the factory that are producing juveniles. In the back waters it's the main area where the new generation of salmons are rising and so now we will try to look at the species diversity and abundance of fish in one of the backwater channels of Sopochnaya river. So for this purpose I'm trying to set up our minnow sane to make this attempt.
I thought you were taking this little willow tree for some sort of experiment.
Yes uh, it by some reasons it can become sung as experimental work.
Ambi: water in the background. Feet rustling on gravel rocks.
Nick talking but difficult to hear because of water noise.
What's up doc?
See the stellar seagull? It's difficult to get close there's a big backwater there.
Jack talks about floodplain
We're about 1015 meteres above ocean level and the river is really slowing down its energy gradient, depositing lots of gravel, lots of braids and the old channels that the rivers left some years ago are now backwater systems.
(EA: and that's this year?)
And we have one right in front of us and there are several important things here about these backwaters. One is that they're not exchanging water was fastest the main channel so they have a tendency to warm up a bit in the summer days relative to the river channel. Secondly they're fed a lot by river water that moves through the big gravel bar that we're standing on. That does two things. One it will cool the backwater if it's a little too warm in the summer and in the winter it will warm it.
MS interrupts and asks for the background noise to go down.
The third thing is that the flow path of the groundwater from where it went in from the river and passed through caused the groundwater food web is breaking down organic matter from the river and from the floodplain and releasing plant available nitrogen and phosphorus, and there you see what happens when it comes out. Its growing lots of plant and algae. And so these backwaters have a particularly abundant food web of a type that is probably quite easily for juveniles to feed on. Small bits of organic matter, lots of small flies from the terrestrial environment, as opposed to the welladapted gravel insects out there. When they get a little bit bigger out in the main river, they can function a bit better out there. But all of the salmon species really key on these backwaters as juveniles and also out here in these backwaters are small stickle back. The only other really abundant non salmonid besides lamprey in the river system. So when we're doing our remote sensing we're attempting to quantify all of the off channel environments so we can have a assessment or a quantification of the abundance of those habitats relative to the more shall we say unstable or dynamic environment of the main channel. And we're going to our nets out into this backwater and see what kinds of juveniles we can collect. In the past year we've collected practically all of the salmon species and we're more prone as you can see from the dock to collect our mikesia or rainbows right in the main channel. That's a characteristic of that critter. They really like the faster main channel water. So do the chars actually as well the dolly varden and the coonja. But there'll be a lot of salmon back here.
But this is a critical place for juvenile fish. This is, you talk about a cog in the factory, the factory wouldn't work without this.
That's right. They'll spawn out on the gravel bars and in many times in these backwaters as well when the groundwater is upwelling, particularly chum in these backwaters. The backwaters provide a very summer cool, winter warm. Actually, a stratified in the summer habitat. Warm at the surface cooler at the bottom. They can really select the optimum temperature environment to live in during the summer growth period when they're really putting on lipids, growing fast get them through the winter. Then in the winter time even though its frozen over there'll be areas right near the bottom where the groundwater is upwelling that's actually pretty warm because as water passes through the ground it tends to try to take on the average air temperature that's the tendency of groundwater. So here the flow path is really short and it never gets that close to the average air temperature because the flow path is short and the water is moving very fast. Nonetheless it does exert a summer cool, winter warm condition wherever its upwelling in the backwater environment.
So what we're standing on is sort of like a sponge and the water comes through here and drains into here? And that's sort of the temperature control you were discussing?
And back over here. Uhhuh. Yeah the movement of the river water into the gravel and circulating through the gravel and the food web that that mediates is a key cog in our overall research program between Russia and the United States. In our floodplain work in the United States we're funded by the National Science Foundation to look at the details of how nutrients are cycled by the various pathways that nutrients follow on large floodplains. One of those and a very key one is the way the water moves through the gravel bars and back to the river again. On the floodplain we work on there, about 30 percent of the entire flow of the river goes into the ground at the top of the floodplain. Then it reemerges down slope as the water table again intersects the surface the alluvial aquifer delivers water back to the surface forming a mosaic of wetland features backwaters, spring brooks, marshes, wetlands of various sorts, and this really allows the floodplain to be very productive. There we showed that even the trees that grow in the area where the water is returning to the surface because of the higher nutrient load, perhaps the moderation of temperatures and importantly, the greater availability of water in the root zone allows those trees to grow faster in the upwelling zone than they do in the down welling part of the floodplain. Very, very, important.
These are the areas and features that we bulldoze and graze and do all kinds of things to because we think ¿well it's not the main river so we're not messing with the river.¿
Yeah, human activities have been really prone to sever the connectivity between the channel and its floodplain and that happens above and below ground and the manifestation is loss of biodiversity, loss of productivity, loss of flood control, loss of soil productivity, on and on and on. So we're looking for ways to use the information gained in these very naturally functioning systems to understand how we might put back at least large segments of river systems where the floodplains have been substantially damaged or compromised or severed, as we like to say.
But you can't really fix that can you, can you mitigate without wholesale buying up and getting rid of everything that's been on, the floodplain's huge right?
In many places particularly in western United States and in parts of Canada, there are large expanses of floodplain that could be easily restored. The farmers may use the floodplain soils but they haven't built a lot of structure on them because they know what floods. What they have done though is built revetments that keep the flood waters from coming on or when they do it causes a sort of damming effect and creates a soil saturation problem that counteracts the objective of keeping the floodwaters off the floodplain, now certainly the revetments control the average floods and allow life to persist for a long periods of time. Then when the big flood comes it's a huge problem. So what we're trying to do is use the information that we've generated over the last some years is to teach people that they can use floodplains but they need to use it in concert with the natural dynamics of the river, at least what we call normative dynamics of the river. Enough naturalness to allow biodiversity to exist and in this case salmon species to exist. So there are places where we can restore and we're working on some in the Yakima basin in Washington state. We're looking at places on the Yellowstone River where there have been revetments that could be removed. In the Yakima, that river is particularly dewatered by irrigation, they need the irrigation to run the massive agricultural system, there's not question about that but they have the opportunity there to pump exchange the irrigation from the Columbia River. So it'd be possible to free flow the entire Yakima River system again and turn it back into the fish factory that it once was, very much similar to these rivers.
But it'd be pretty damn hard to recreate this.
Actually not, we showed on the Yakima that you could actually let the river refill gravel pits and uh, the vegetation begins to grow on them just as you see here. There are backwaters. Its certainly not going to be what it historically was or exactly in the tremendous complexity that we see in Kamchatka but it's enough. It's normative enough to allow much higher numbers of salmon to exist and secondly to allow the salmon to let their life history diversity express itself and thereby create a variation in runs and rebuild some of the complexity in the fisheries that we've lost. You can't put it totally back together but by golly you can do a lot better than we're currently doing by a long shot.
You could get close.
You could get close. You could get to what we call normative. Enough shifting habitat to allow salmon populations to be sustained over the long term. That's what we mean by normative enough. Doesn't mean pristine. Doesn't mean natural completely. Doesn't mean historical. It just means doing what you can given all of the uses of the river, but giving the salmon the status as wild being that some of the other uses of the river have. All of the other uses of the river.
And looking at all this stuff around here helps you figure out what normative is.
Oh man, that's the whole reason for being here. It's like you have a scale from one to ten and this is a ten and a lot of our rivers are 2's and 3's, but some of them are 5's, and if we can make them sevens. We might, if we also saw the harvest and hatchery bottlenecks that occur external to the river habitat problem, we could really see tremendous changes in beings in the native fishes. We really could, and all of the biodiversity that's associated with the marine nutrients that come back with them. But you can't kill them. You can't the second you get the year you get a few more fish in the river, you can't take them. You've got to let them splash around, be abundant, die in the riparian forest like they do here.
That's our way isn't it? I mean as soon as we do that it's oh there's a lot of fish here, let's go harvest them.
Yeah, the natural tendency of the managers' estate is well finally we got some fish back, to get buy in from the public we need to let them be harvested. That's not true. The public will understand that they need to be left there if the fertility that they bring is a key aspect of sustaining higher populations in the long term. You know, I'm a professor. I believe very much in education and understanding these floodplains and the full ramifications of them and how the fish use floodplains is how the people on the street can understand and appreciate. Indeed in Europe, in Switzerland, they've passed special taxes to try to reconstruct small areas of floodplain where they can. We're talking abut hundreds of meters of stream just little bits of stream where it's the only place left where they can have some, a bit of floodplain functioning and they're trying to do that and spending a great deal of effort and even moving people out of the floodplains to accomplish it. Why not do this when we have rivers in the United States that are actually at risk because of flooding and allow some of the natural flood control processes to occur, let the river do the work. It doesn't cost that much to allow that to happen. Certainly you have to move those that might be damaged by the flooding out of the way or compensate them in a way that's commensurate with their investment in that area. Nobody doubts that.
So what are we going to do here.
Kirill. Let's do it.
And what are we doing?
We're going to use our little minnow sane and we're going to see what kind of fish we can come up with here. It's a bit difficult because the river's been flooding and the backwaters rather large, but let's see what we can find in here. Maybe our objective is to see how many different species we can collect. Let's say we would be really successful if we collected 7 different species this way.
The bet, the bet, I heard the bet.
That's an important number because the total possible number would only be about 13.
He said 7 different species Kirill.
9, here, yes 7.
Talking about lamprey. Not usuable to many people talking at once.
Ambi: water splashing sounds.
Ambi: loud water splashing sounds
There's a stickleback.
One stickleback, let's date it.
Jack: There's a little...
Kirill: Yes, some of them right here. Let's date them
Ambi: Feet crunching on the gravel
There's one in the algae right there under your finger.
Come on, we need both of them so we have two species.
Three and nine, let's look for...come on gang.
Ambi: Slushy sound of feet walking on watery gravel.
Nick: That's a spiry giro or...
Jack: Look's like it.
Are they both stickleback?
How on earth can you tell? They're so tiny.
They're all ninespined stickleback. Ninespined stickleback.
As opposed to?
There was one. Thank you for wiggling.
That's what we needed for the sample, that many. Yeah this backwater's just loaded with algae.
We've got 4, 5.
So let's try some different places.
Ambi: moving buckets, splashing water.
Back to MS more, gathering.
Talking in the background, inaudible.
Ambi: More splashing water.
Yes we have salmonid.
You have them.
No it's a stickleback.
There's a stickleback to your right everyone, in the pond. Left.
A few of them. Not what we had last year.
There's another one in there. I saw him.
Try going right into the glass there.
Go out and around this group of willows then and out into the grass?
Ambi: water splashing, rustling sound against mic.
Oh, big old dead salmon. I don't know whether its salmon or not but...
Talking, too difficult to hear over mic handling.
Ambi: Sound of pouring water. Scientists are talking faintly in the background about fish they find.
Mic handling. Scientists still mumbling, difficult to distinguish a lot of what they are saying.
Big fat pregnant, threespined stickleback.
Oh, look at this little salmonid.
Oh, looks like sockeye.
So, not bad cast.
Maybe more deeply in the...
Kirill: So, Nick.
Kirill: Come on going.
Nick: Be sure to roll the net onto the stick.
Scientists talking in the background. Difficult to understand.
Ambi: splashing sounds in the water
Scientists talking about whether they found a sockeye or coho.
So what do we have in this net guys?
Nick: So far we have two species of stickleback, Chinook salmon, sockeye salmon, coho salmon.
EA: Oh, a little more effective than a flyrod.
Jack: and a catus larvae.
Nick: and a big catus larvae and a lymnophilid whatever species.
Jack: in a reed type case.
Nick: probably a new species.
So you have all those salmon species living right with the sticklebacks in the backwater including a fish that may come back as a forty pounder this Chinook. Some of the salmonids will stay in here for several years before they go to the ocean. The stickleback stickled me.
Kirill says something, difficult to understand.
Well, let's head for more casts.
The little fish don't mind the flooding. No matter how severe, they just move in to this nice cover by the willows and feed on all of the good food that comes from the floodplain in the form of small insects. Bits and pieces of organic matter.
What would happen to them if there wasn't a back channel.
They would go to the ocean prematurely with the flood. It'd be washed downstream.
Yeah and they wouldn't have the chance to get these nutrients.
Think of the floodplain as a big retention structure. It retains food and nutrients. Cycles the food and nutrients for the fish. It also retains the fish. One of the biggest problems we have is that our rivers are constantly fluctuated by hydropower operation and that flushes everything away. There's no retention. So we narrow the floodplain, then we regulate it up and down and that causes all of the materials to flow out of the system. In many ways it functions like a real steep canyon. Let's say the middle fork of the salmon river, it's a white water river doesn't have any retention structure so it never was much of a salmon producer. It had salmon in it no doubt about it. Perhaps even many by today's standards. Perhaps even abundant by today's standards, but it wasn't a fish factory like these floodplain systems.
No place for the little guys to go. And they're getting flushed down.
Yeah, so they're having to live all the time as little guys right with the big predators that are out there in the main river. And you think of the big poonja here coming into this backwater looking for them. They immediately go into this grass, no poonja can get back there.
Ambi: walking through water.
Scientists talking about what they think is a coho salmon.
That's not coho.
What is that?
How can you tell?
See the big fork in the tail, little thinner at the wrist. Look at this little guy.
Nick: Probably a sockeye.
EA: You guys would be great on the sorting line, I tell you that.
Nick: See how silvery
EA: Yeah, sockeye's are more silvery like that
Jack: And here's our stickleback. Here's another Chinook.
Scientists talking faintly in the background.
So we will fix it. No it's not a chum it's sockeye. Sockeye or even little coho because orange.
I can't believe you guys can tell on these teeny little fish.
We've been looking at them for 30 years.
Maybe you're just pulling my leg and they're all pollywogs.
Jack: that's big one. Sockeye will go downstream...
Nick: Here's a sockeye.
EA: Because it's so silvery.
Nick: the number of anal fin rays is diagnostic so...
EA: well that means a lot to me.
Nick: it means that you can determine very definitively which they are from the number, each species has a different number of anal fin rays.
EA: Got it.
When we were working in Yakima we got very excited when we found two Chinook after working all day like this and they were endangered, so we couldn't take them. We looked at them, identified them and released them.
But you sure wouldn't get anything in one swipe of the net there huh?
So what's our count now. We got to seven?
Scientists continue counting fish.
We haven't gotten any char, that's a problem.
They're in the river. Difficult to understand the rest of what he says.
That was a good haul.
There's a mature three spine stickleback.
What do they look like when they're larger?
That's as large as they get.
Hmmhmm. Sometimes they can be of this size.
Four inch stickleback would be a world record.
1.56.40 Jack (faint)
There we are, I've got three of them we'll put them in reference files.
What is it?
It's uh case catus but it may be new one for us...here's another one.
(MS: It's a what?)
It's a catus that builds a little case, usually out of plant materials or rocks or wood and the case generally becomes diagnostic of certainly the genus and often the species. So, it's like that that's one that's new to western science.
So you can tell what it is by the little house that it builds?
Once you've, once you've looked at a number of them and know that that kind of case is uniquely built by one kind of critter then you don't have to go under the microscope, yes.
What kind of critter builds that kind of house.
(EA: A catus) (Jack: A catus)
It is a catus, then it's a critter.
It does the full metamorphosis like a butterfly and that's the larval stage.
Nick says something in the background, Jack starts to fade away, harder to understand.
EA and MS talk about tape.
Ambi: walking in the water.
That's a stickleback again. I don't know how many more we need of those. There's one coho.
You want to keep giving me small sticklebacks?
Sounds of netting fish.
What's the most unusual thing you guys have picked up from around here?
Maybe the juvenile lampreys for us. Kirill's seen them lots of times but we haven't. Lamprey's, the native run lampreys in the Columbia basin areas we work are gone.
Is that a dead fish over there too? It looks like it.
Scientists talking faintly in the background.
Ambi: Rustling sounds.
EA asks MS if he wants to change tapes.
END OF DAT