Here a Fish, There a Fish - Winter Flounder
Research Question: How and why do Winter Flounder populations change along the Poquonnock River?
Part A: Read the background information
The winter flounder is a “right eyed” flatfish with an oval shaped thick body. The body color can vary from shades of dark brown to gray to olive green; may have mottled blotches and lighter color specks. Juveniles tend to be lighter and have more spotting. The left side, or side that faces the bottom is white. The lateral line is nearly straight with rough feeling scales and puckered lips. They are usually less than 35cm (14”) long.
The winter flounder (Pleuronectes americanus) is very common throughout southern New England and is the most common bottom fish along the sandy and muddy bottoms of Long Island Sound. This fish can be found year-round with the largest numbers present during the cooler months of November to May. Mature adults migrate from the deep water into the shallows in the fall. Spawning occurs in late December through April in the shallow water with clusters of eggs sinking down to the bottom in coves, salt ponds and other low flow areas. Juveniles remain in shallow water nursery areas for 2-3 years before migrating into deeper water. These fish are omnivores with a diet consisting of shrimp, worms, crustaceans, larval fish and algae. Larval flounders are often prey for jellyfish.
Part B: Prediction and Reasoning
Study the background information provided on Winter Flounder (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.
Make a prediction: In July, where along the Poquonnock River would you expect to see the most winter flounder?
Explain your reasoning: WHY do you think winter flounder 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 winter flounder 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:
Make a claim that answers the research question (one sentence).
What evidence was used to write your claim? Reference specific parts of your graph.
Explain your reasoning. Make sure to connect your answer to what you have learned about the biology of winter flounder.
Was your prediction supported by the results? Use evidence to explain why or why not.
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