RE: NANFA-- How fish get from A to B

Jay DeLong (
Wed, 15 Dec 1999 22:55:03 -0800

When I was at Buckeye University I attended a talk on the co-evolution of
Serengheti grasses and grazers. The guy who gave the talk had spent years
in Africa studying this theory. He presented compelling evidence that
co-evolution of ungulates and grasses had occurred by demonstrating that
certain things happened: the grasses were able to achieve most rapid growth
after being grazed by wildebeest (which resulted in ample food for the next
animal herds to pass the area-- antelope or something, I forget), the
grazing herds did not graze right to ground level (which would have killed
the grasses and the herds of grazers with it), some grasses developed
protective silica fibers, the grazers developed tougher teeth in response,
and so on. Really neat stuff.

Anyway, during the question and answer period the researcher was talking
about lab experiments he performed on the grasses-- things like how and when
they grew and the rate at which they grew when grazed and not grazed. He
clipped grasses at various lengths to measure resulting growth. He used
scissors for some experiments, but since the WAY the grasses were grazed was
important, he also used animal skulls to "graze" the grasses the way he
observed them in the field!

So, Shireen, sorry to disappoint you, but I was serious about the bird feet
(really) :-) The texture of the feet would be important, so you'd have to
see if chicken or duck feet and legs would be similar to the herons, gulls,
etc. Then if you could show that normal wading/swimming bird activity in
grass beds with killie eggs could dislodge then and then make them
subsequently adhere to the bird legs and feet, you might have a theory on
fish movements. But I really doubt you would achieve results that would
support that theory. This could also be done in aquaria I suppose.

Jay DeLong
Olympia, WA

> -----Original Message----- > From: On Behalf > Of Shireen Gonzaga > Sent: Wednesday, December 15, 1999 5:44 PM > To: > Subject: Re: NANFA-- How fish get from A to B > > > Jay DeLong wrote: > > > Dave said: > > > Another neat thing to do, if you are doing any mist netting for bird > > > banding, why not wash the little chicken's toes into a sterile > > > basin (with autoclaved pond water) and see what grows...? ;) > > > > Or get some chicken legs from a processing plant, or legs similar to the > > ones you think belong to the birds transferring the eggs. Tie them to a > > stick and "walk" them through the grass beds and see if the > eggs really do > > stick to the legs and feet. > > Oh, that is *brilliant*!!! I'm gonna call the refuge biologist > right now--I have his home number somewhere-- and > propose it as a project for next spring! But just in case there > are no chicken legs in April, I better go get them right now. > Oh, yes, and a freezer too so they don't spoil. Don't worry > Jay, I'll credit you fully for that idea in our paper, the one > we will write for the Annals of Improbable Research. > I am so impressed at how your training as a fisheries biologist > has produced a scientist of such outstanding caliber and > innovative imagination. > > - shireen

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