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Drifters: A Guide to Stray Tropical Fish at SoFo
July 5, 2016 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Program Presenter: Todd Gardner, professor of biology and marine biology at Suffolk County Community College in Riverhead, NY.
“Off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, the Gulf Stream transports approximately 100 million cubic meters of seawater northward per second. Dwelling within this, the world’s most powerful ocean current, is a diverse ecosystem of resident, transient, and planktonic marine life. Among the plankton community of the Gulf Stream are eggs and larvae of marine animals that were spawned on distant coral reefs and continental shelf waters from the Caribbean Islands to the Carolinas. Many of these animals are destined to never encounter a suitable habitat. For most, that means starving or being eaten as larva; for others it means reaching the point of metamorphosis in the open ocean over the abyssal plains; but for one poorly-studied group of fishes, it means being deposited along a temperate shoreline during the summer, where water temperatures are high enough to support them for only a few months of each year.
For 30 years, I have been collecting and cataloging tropical fish species in the waters around Long Island. In that time, I have recorded more than 100 species of tropical marine fish here, and I have made some observations that demand further attention. There is clear evidence that many of these species simply succumb to the cold at the onset of winter, but for some of them, the situation may be more complex. Regardless of what ultimately happens to these wayward fishes, the sheer biomass of these temporary inhabitants suggests that they are likely to impact temperate ecosystems along the Atlantic coast of North America. Join me as I discuss collection and husbandry techniques as well as the fate and ecology of these tropical drifters.” — Todd Gardner
Advanced reservations are required for all events. For more information, reservations, and directions to meeting places, please call: 631.537.9735.