Micah Quindazzi is asking West Coasters to help him find fish ears, like the two rockfish otoliths pictured here. (Photo submitted by Micah Quindazzi)

Ucluelet researcher scouring region for fish ears

Micah Quindazzi is asking West Coast fishers and ocean observers to lend him their ears.

Micah Quindazzi is asking West Coast fishers and ocean observers to lend him their ears.

Quindazzi is scouring the peninsula for fish ears, called otoliths, in an effort to create a catalogue that he believes could unveil a treasure trove of information about sea life.

“In 1899, scientists discovered ring like structures in the otoliths, similar to tree rings, that can age a fish,” he wrote in an email to the Westerly News. “Since then, otoliths have been used to identify fish species, determine the length of a fish, distinguish populations from each other, and even track the migration routes fish undertake.”

Originally from New Hampshire, Quindazzi moved to Vancouver Island seven years ago and recently completed his Bachelors of Science degree, concentrating on marine biology, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree from the University of Victoria.

“One of the parts of my research has been to determine the marine migration history of coho from around the Salish Sea, but because COVID -19 is keeping me out of the lab, I have been working on my other goal, which is to catalog the otoliths of fish species from around Vancouver Island,” he wrote. “I have been collecting otoliths from around the Salish Sea from various species. Most of the otoliths I have access to came from bait fish in the diets of chinook and coho salmon from another project in our lab. I am also in contact with various places with stores of otoliths from around Vancouver Island. I am taking these and scanning them with a 3D CT scanner to look at their overall shape differences across difference species and populations of species.”

He is currently residing in Ucluelet, where he has been a frequent visitor over the past four years and has enjoyed working as a fisheries observer with Archipelago Marine Research.

“The West Coast is a great place to study marine ecology as there are a ton of different organisms that live in the different sounds and if you go just over 50 kilometres offshore, there are a lot of other organisms that live where the ocean gets rapidly deeper at the continental slope,” he wrote.

In order to complete his catalog, Quindazzi is asking West Coasters to assist by donating any fish heads they acquire, or by pointing him in the direction of any fish that have washed ashore by emailing him at m.j.quindazzi@gmail.com.

“I welcome any species of fish. I would especially be interested in rockfish or flatfish otoliths as they are closely related groups with quite divergent otolith shapes,” he wrote.

“I hope this research can aid our general understanding about all the fish that live nearby, as well as creating a useful and easily accessible source for marine ecologists and fisheries scientists alike. This research may also increase our understanding about how many populations of different fish species exist around the island.

He added he’s eager to share his knowledge with anyone interested in his research.

“I enjoy spreading the joy of marine science that I have loved since I was a kid. Just know, anything you would be willing to do to help my sample collections would help and be much appreciated.”

He said his fervent interest in marine ecology began when he was 12 years old and attended a summer camp program called “Marine Madness” at W. Alton Jones and then spent time at Project Oceanology as a teenager.

“What fascinated me the most was the fact that the ocean is quite mysterious, you know how the saying goes, ‘We know more about the surface of the moon than we know about the bottom of the ocean.’ While I was participating in those programs as a kid, I noticed you can only really see a couple of meters down into the water, but under that veil is a vast and diverse collection of life,” he wrote.



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ MORE: Ucluelet’s Thornton Creek Hatchery to release 700,000 salmon

READ MORE: Ucluelet Aquarium model spawning inspiration worldwide

RAD MORE: Dismal returns sound alarm over salmon crisis in Tofino and Ucluelet

Fishresearch

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Ucluelet dedicates off-leash dog park

“I think it’s great. Dogs need a space to run.”

Ucluelet artists launch pop-up art exhibition

Heyduck & Butler opened on July 1 and will run until August 31.

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Tofino and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation release joint statement welcoming ‘respectful’ tourists

“We have adapted to the new landscape and are very eager to welcome you back.”

Province backs Hesquiaht First Nation hydro project with $4.1M

Ah’ta’apq Creek Hydropower Project would decrease First Nation’s dependence on diesel.

Lower Mainland teacher facing child pornography charges

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Man who rammed gate near Trudeau residence with truck faces multiple charges

The man, who police have not yet officially identified, will be charged with multiple offences

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

Kelowna RCMP commander calls for more nurses during wellness checks after complaint

Southeast District Commander wants to increase Police and Crisis Team program

‘Tarantula moth’ spotted in broad daylight on Vancouver Island

Polyphemus moths are one of the largest insects in B.C.

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

Most Read