Lab Electrofishing Training
Electrofishing is to fish ecology what a stethoscope is to a doctor, a super-useful tool we reach for in many research situations. By putting the right electric current into the water you can force fish swim right to you and roll over for capture, making population surveys much easier. It's an effective and super useful tool, but it also needs to be done correctly or you can end up hurting the fish, your research, or both.
Last week Natasha and Jens attended an electrofishing training course put on by the Idaho Chapter of the American Fisheries Society in Boise, ID. The course was taught by Dr. Jim Reynolds, emeritus professor from University of Alaska, Fairbanks whose specialty is in the theory and practice of electrofishing.
Dr. Reynolds has an immense amount of knowledge on the topic and did a great job of getting everyone back into electrical circuits, volts, amps and resistance...things most of us hadn't thought about for years if at all. He also did a great job of distilling the complexities of field theory and power transfer theory that are extremely complex topics. After two days in class and one day in the field we all came away with a much better idea of how to correctly apply electrofishing, how to standardize our sampling effort, and how to diagnose problems in the equipment before throwing up our hands and spending lots of money to ship a heavy and fragile backpack electrofished back to the manufacturer.
Overall, it was a great training and I would recommend it.