Pearlside Story: A Call for Citizen Science and the Value of Published Observations with Owen Nichols

September 14th at Museum of Natural History

BREWSTER, MA —The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster presents Pearlside Story: A Call for Citizen Science and the Value of Published Observations with Owen Nichols, Director of Marine Fisheries Research at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 1pm.

Owen Nichols and his partner, researcher and environmental educator Tasia Blough, were walking on Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, MA when Tasia discovered a tiny, lifeless silver fish among the rocks and wrack line. She quickly recognized it as a deep ocean fish covered with light organs, and despite searching for another hour, they only found the single specimen.

When they returned home, they used an ultraviolet light to examine the fish, revealing the exquisite detail of its bioluminescent light organs. Owen identified the fish as a pearlside (Maurolicus sp.), a mesopelagic fish covered in photophores (light organs) that is fairly well known offshore in deeper water, but of which there are only a few published records from the coast. A social media post of the discovery circulated widely, leading to regional media coverage, which in turn led to several other reports of the species from local beachcombers and naturalists. While these beach-cast records are a small contribution to our knowledge of the distributional ecology of the species, they highlight the need for citizen science and published observations.

Owen Nichols is Director of Marine Fisheries Research at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology, a guest investigator at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and an adjunct professor at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the Shoals Marine Laboratory. 

Free with Museum Admission

For more information please call: 508-896-3867, ext. 133


CapeCodToday.com welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on CapeCodToday.com.