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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 (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.

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

  2. 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:

  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 winter flounder.

  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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