Diego Bernal, Ph.D. (University of Mass., Dartmouth)
Ashley Stoer, doctoral candidate (UMD)
Jeanine Sepulveda, PhD (MiraCosta College)
Doug Syme, PhD (University of Calgary)
PIER researchers are collaboratively working with several laboratories to investigate several aspects of swordfish physiology. Given the PIER teams access to live swordfish, ongoing studies range from examining heat balance and vascular specialization to the effects of temperature on muscle performance.
This work uses a suite of laboratory and field techniques to better understand how the swordfish is capable of expanding its thermal niche to waters well below the thermocline. The thermal studies use modified PSATs to log the internal body temperature of free swimming swordfish. The transmitter package has a thermistor that records body temperature at the location of the tag anchor. Once the tag releases from the swordfish, the PIER team sets out to recover the transmitter package. Muscle heating and cooling rates are examined over the course of the track period to assess the degree to which swordfish elevate internal muscle temperatures.
Vascular tissue from the central and lateral circulation are fixed, stained and sectioned for examination using light microscopy. Additional work includes the tracing of the circulation to and from the red muscle to better understand blood flow pathways in swordfish.