SMURF Moorings Helping Us Learn About Larval Fish (May 20, 2015)
What is a SMURF? We are not talking about the cartoon characters. Rather, SMURF stands for: Standard Monitoring Units for the Recruitment of Fishes. They are basically mesh sacks anchored underwater with plastic loosely bundled up inside (the green part of the photo on the left). Larval fish gather in the SMURF for protection and we collect it with a net (the red net the snorkeler is holding in the left photo) and count and measure the fish inside. These passive aggregation devices help us determine what species of fish are present and when they are recruiting (settling) into the nearshore habitat. In partnership with scientists at Oregon State University and the Oregon Coast Aquarium, our team will deploy and sample SMURF moorings this month at Otter Rock and Redfish Rocks Marine Reserves and track the recruitment of larval fishes until late September.
The photo on the right is in our garage with bundles of line gathered for the SMURFs. Christian is holding the flag and floats that stay above the water to alert boaters that here is an anchor below.