Aquatic Research Center’s Microscopic Focus

Go ahead and shove
that needle in there. Just a steady stream. Every day that I come to work,
I realize how much that I love working here. I get to meet a lot of people
who have a lot of different specialties and knowledge
that I get to absorb. You’ve delivered mussels babies. Yay. This facility used to
be used to raise salmon, and now it is being transformed
as the Aquatic Resource Center where we do research on all
sorts of animals that are threatened and
endangered in this area. We’re here to restore
mussel populations, so we’re trying to grow them
in the lab so that we can repopulate areas that have
lost a lot of mussels. Mussels are called the canary
in the coal mine of our water quality, not only providing
food for other critters, like raccoons and
mink and otter, but they also help clean the
water– day in and day out, millions of gallons. The baby mussels,
they’re microscopic. They’re, like, the size
of a grain of sand. So working with them
presents a lot of challenges. Take some babies. They need a fish that they can
live on for a month or more. Adult mussels release young,
and those young clamp onto fish. We’re going to go ahead
and just dump these in. And sometimes it’s not
just any fish, too. Sometimes it’s very specific
as to what fish are successful for the mussels. So we can see little, tiny
specks on the gills of this fish. So we know that
they are attaching, and then they’ll fall
off as juveniles. We’re getting the students
engaged from the top to the bottom. Without all of us
working together, it wouldn’t be happening.

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