Here a Fish  There a Fish - Mummichog

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Research Question: How and why do Mummichog populations change along the Poquonnock River?

Part A: Read the background information

Mummichogs (Fundulus heteroclitus) are very common in estuaries particularly near tidal marshes and in shallow coastal waters.  They can also be found in low salinity stream mouths and fresh water sources that drain into salt marshes.  During the winter these fish burrow into the mud on the bottom or marsh pools or move into deeper water near shore.  They eat a variety of small invertebrates, fish eggs and detritus.  Females lay their sticky eggs in high marsh near the high tide level among the algae, shells, leaves and sand during the highest tides in late spring and summer.  Eggs typically hatch two weeks later during the next spring tide.  These eggs are an important food source for shore birds like herons, terns and egrets.  Crabs and larger fish will also feed on mummichogs.  The lifespan of this fish is a couple of years.  

Part B: Prediction and Reasoning

Study the background information provided on Mummichogs (above), and take the virtual tour of the Poquonnock River, paying close attention to habitat descriptions.  Write answers to the following prompts on your sheet of paper.

  1. Make a prediction:  In July, where along the Poquonnock River would you expect to see the most mummichogs

  2. Explain your reasoning:  WHY do you think mummichogs are most likely to be in this location?

Part C: Analyze the Data

Look at the dataset below.  On your piece of paper, illustrate the data by making a graph.  Your graph should have clear labels on both the x-axis and the y-axis.  The type of graph (scatterplot, column graph, etc) is up to you.

This table shows the number of mummichog captured while seining at each location, on a single day in July 2019.  

 Part D: Interpret the Results and Make Arguments from Evidence

On your sheet of paper, answer the following questions:

  1. Make a claim that answers the research question (one sentence).

  2. What evidence was used to write your claim? Reference specific parts of your graph.

  3. Explain your reasoning. Make sure to connect your answer to what you have learned about the biology of mummichogs.

  4. Was your prediction supported by the results? Use evidence to explain why or why not.

  5. How would you follow up? Describe a new question that should be investigated to build on these results, and what future data should be collected to answer your question.

Congratulations!  Your final analysis should include the following components:

  • A statement of the research question that you chose/were assigned

  • Your prediction and your reasoning

  • Your labelled graph

  • Your answers to the results questions

Share your results with your teacher, and/or by emailing it to Project O: projecto@oceanology.org, attn: Dr. Molly

**Educators and/or homeschool parents: educator guides are available for all research projects. 

Email mjacobs@oceanology.org to request an educator guide**

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