Thursday, 8 September 2016

Working At The Museum From the Perspective of a Student


Working At The Museum
From The Perspective Of Student
By Andrew Young, Museum Assistant


    The museum at the back of the Town Hall of Logy Bay - Middle Cove - Outer Cove is generally thought of, by many, to be a small one. Most people think that they can walk through it in five or ten minutes; this is true, to an extent. However, the museum houses over 600 objects and any individual object can carry a variety of particular meanings to a person. We have a sports section, and sections for the fishery, agriculture, religions, lifestyles, military and school.



    When you come to the museum, you are essentially coming as close as you can to putting yourself in the shoes of someone from the past. By reading the old newspapers you can get an idea of the sort of culture that they had had back then. There was a lot less deception in advertising for example. Character meant much more back then; if you didn't have it, you also didn't have their business.



    A newspaper ad from the Newfoundland Light and Power Company for example, reads as follows:



    "Protect your future first, either by a safe investment, a life insurance policy or a savings account. Then - get all you possibly can out of life. Money invested in electric appliances will give you more opportunities to enjoy life. Make yours an electric house. Be modern."




    If you think about it, that is pretty good advice even for today. In a culture consumed by debt - and as a student, student debt is a concern - it is very wise to tackle that quickly and then save. The next most practical type of investment would be a dishwasher or washing machine. We take washing machines for granted, but many people in the world spend several hours a day washing and hanging up their clothes and do this every couple of days.




    If we don't appreciate that modern innovation then it's relative value in our mind depreciates. We ultimately end up in a losing battle, man versus the machine, wherein man takes the machines for granted, and yet is completely dependent upon them, and develops appetites beyond ones capacities to sustain.




    It is therefore useful and wise to look into how the people of the past lived 100 years ago, and how people in less developed nations live today at this very moment, in order to have those points of comparison in our mind to appreciate the various advantages that we do have currently. We have to constantly combat this phenomenon wherein our happiness is adjusting to the new norm.




    That is the great value in visiting a museum or traveling, you gain a more realistic perception of where you are today. A simple life is a happy life - people then lived simply and were more carefree. If you went and asked a fisherman in Logy Bay how he was doing, he wouldn't know how to answer you. It's because there was only one way of life, and how well someone was doing in life depended upon their character, hard work and sacrifice. Little has changed since then in this regard, for the most part.

Note: Images are all from inside the museum, to help set the tone of Andrew's article. Lisa

Thursday, 1 September 2016

The Sikh Society of Newfoundland Exhibit Launch

It's been a busy couple of weeks here at the museum. If you haven't seen our changes, this is your last day, and September 10 for Doors Open, then we'll be open again next summer!

We've made quite a few changes in the museum this summer, from installing UV filters to the windows to allow us to open the curtains and brighten up the museum, to moving things around to hopefully give you, the visitors, more space to explore more comfortably.



We've also updated our Ocean Ranger exhibit with a beautiful picture donated by Gerry Boland and have a couple of softballs signed by local teams donated by Tom Hickey.

Our Archaeologist for A Day program was a big hit this summer, and was run both for small groups and for summer camps. The program was a little different from last year with a focus on objects that could be found within the museum. This allowed kids to not only act as archaeologists as they dug up and recorded "artifacts", but then they could find those "artifacts" in the museum and talk about how they are used.

We also added scavenger hunt sheets which the summer camp kids loved to use as they explored the museum.

Our big even of the season was the launch of the Sikh Society of Newfoundland exhibit. Wednesday night the museum filled up with community members who were interested in learning more about Sikhism in Newfoundland. The Sikh Society came out to help open the exhibit, to answer questions about Sikhism and brought some amazing snacks. I believe everyone who attended came out of the exhibit knowing more about the role the Sikh community plays in the Northeast Avalon, and across the island. It was great to see a few museum regulars and some new visitors come out to see the launch of this new exhibit.

Thank you to everyone involved in the development of this exhibit. First, the Sikh Society of Newfoundland who supplied the museum with information and objects to tell their story. We hope the exhibit reflects your society and your place within the community. You do so much great work, and we're happy to highlight it. Next, Andrew, the museum assistant, who took care of visitors so that I, the museum coordinator, could run around getting all of the supplies, drop off and pick up signs, and research. My volunteers, Shannon and Jane, for helping with the last minute set up. The Town of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove for their support and power tools. And of course, the Heritage Committee for starting this project (in particular Katherine Harvey, the former coordinator for making initial contact and starting the research) and for their support and suggestions throughout. To be honest, with so many wonderful people backing me, there was little for me to do!

And this is it for this season, but please, visit on September 10th for Doors Open, and keep watching facebook and twitter for when we open again next year and start #CapelinRoll2017!

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Exhibit Launch: The Sikh Society of Newfoundland


You are all invited to the opening of our new exhibit, The Sikh Society of Newfoundland.

Please join us at 7pm on August 31, 2016 to look at the history of Sikhism in Newfoundland.

For more information, please email lbmcocmuseum@gmail.com, call 726-5272, or find the event on facebook.

All are welcome!
Hope to see you there!




A Stroke In Time by Gerard Doran

Have you read A Stroke in Time by Gerard Doran?

Published by Flanker Press in 2015, this historical fiction looks at the 1901 Outer Cove Fishermen's Crew who rowed 9:13 4/5 in the championship race in that year's Regatta.

It is a wonderful reimagining of that historic race, looking at the work in getting a crew together, the struggles to fit rowing into a busy fishing schedule, and the hard work and dedication that rowers continue to commit when striving for those new records on Quidi Vidi Lake.

Perhaps one of the best parts of the book is just the day-to-day life in Outer Cove. The story starts, end, and every now and then touches on the price of fish and the ability to get a good price from the merchants. It discusses the difficulty in getting a berth on a sealing ship, and the poverty that used to be common in St. John's. It also looks at Dan McCathy's struggle, wondering if he should follow his fiancée to Boston where he could also work without worrying about the merchants and their prices for fish, or stay home because leaving his mother and brother is hard.
Picture of the 1901 crew taken in 1922. Source
And perhaps my interest leans that way, as I have never rowed. Working at the Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove Museum this year I have learned a great deal about the passion that goes hand-in-hand with rowing. Some crews would leave their vehicles at the museum before going to the lake, and after a good row, would run back from Quidi Vidi to the museum to visit and have some iced tea (I always made sure there was some ready on Saturday mornings). The excitement from a good practice was amazing to be around, and I would feel energized just being around the rowers. I doubt I'll ever row, but I have learned a great deal about rowing this past summer, and I will never look at the Royal St. John's Regatta the same way again. Even if I'm a townie, I'll be cheering for Outer Cove!

Back to the book, my only big complaints would be that the dialects seem to slip in and out of use. Perhaps that was on purpose. I certainly know who I'm around influences my dialect. As well, and I put this up to historical fiction liberties, there is a lot of focus on the Blue Peter, but the Outer Cove Crew rowed in the Myrtle for the Fishermen's Race and didn't row in the Blue Peter until that historic championship race.
Regatta program from 1927. Source

I recommend anyone with an interest in Newfoundland, and especially an interest in rowing, to read this book. And remember, we have lots of Regatta history here at the Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove Museum, so come visit and explore more of this part of our history.

Lisa
Museum Co-ordinator 2016

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

St. Francis of Assisi Grotto and O'Brien Park

In June, a visitor to the museum asked about the historical significance of the Grotto located at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Outer Cove. 

A picture of the Grotto located in the museum taken by Garland Studio [011.6.1]
The Grotto is located a little to the side of the church, and contain a statue of the Virgin Mary with a little girl and the pedestal reads:
THIS PEDESTAL HAS
BEEN ERRECTED TO
THE MEMORY OF
MAURICE O'BRINE
MICHAEL O'BRINE
JAMES O'BRINE
DAVID O'BRINE
MAURICE O'BRINE JR.
The Grotto at St. Francis of Assisi Church. Photo by Lisa M. Daly.
According to Mrs. Mary Boland in an April 200 interview, Aunt Marg O'Brien lost four sons in World War II. Mike O'Brien was in the Merchant Marines; David was the youngest and was torpedoed while in the army; Jim was serving with the United States and Maurice also died. Aunt Marg was given the title of The Most Bereaved Mother.

More information can be found in downtown St. John's. At the base of Signal Hill is a monument dedicated to Margaret O'Brien nee Hickey and her sons.

A monument at the intersection of Signal Hill and Battery Road. Photo by Lisa M. Daly.
This monument is an anchor against a rock and a plaque that identifies it as O'Brien Park. Mrs. Boland said that Margaret O'Brien used to live in Outer Cove, but according to the park, her home with Mr. Maurice O'Brien was at the corner of Signal Hill and Battery Road. Four of Margaret O'Brien's sons were lost during the Second World War, and her husband passed away in 1942. This major loss resulted in her being given the title of "Most Bereaved Mother" for Newfoundland for the Second World War.

The plaque for O'Brien Park.
Research into this family was done by Gary Green of the Crow's Nest Officer's Club for a 2015 CBC article. According to his research, Maurice O'Brien Jr. died in December 1940 when the HMS Forfar sank while in convoy. Michael O'Brien also died in October 1942 when the S.S. Eastlea was torpedoed. David O'Brien died in October 1942 while working aboard the tug boat HMS Frisky, which worked in St. John's Harbour. The fourth brother, James O'Brien, remains a mystery. Mrs. Boland said he served with the United States, but could not remember if it was the army or the navy. No record of him could be found on their online database.
The monument at the base of Signal Hill. Photo by Lisa M. Daly.

According to the comments on the CBC article, Margaret O'Brien did have other children. In fact, she had three sons and three daughters besides the four that were lost. Two of those three sons served, and were honourably discharged.
O'Brien Park overlooking the harbour. Photo by Lisa M. Daly
Margaret herself lived well into her 80s. While alive, she was presented with a wreath at Remembrance Day ceremonies as fitting for her Most Bereaved title.

Sources

Boland, Martin
2016 Residents of the Town of Logy Bay Middle Cove Outer Cove who saw military service. On File at the LBMCOC Museum.

Boland, Mary
2000 Interview. Senior Interviews Transcript, on File at the LBMCOC Museum.

CBC News
2015 The Story Behind 'Newfoundland's Most Bereaved Mother of WWII'. CBC.ca, 11 November 2015 [last accessed 9 August 2016].












Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Museum Highlights: 1993 Regatta Ribbon

As it's Regatta Day tomorrow, another Royal St. John's Regatta post is in order. There are so many amazing Outer Cove teams to profile that we could not just pick one. Although it's very tempting to focus only on the 1901 and 1982 crew, we also have those who went to the Canada Games, the 1989 juvenile team, the 1991 Smith Stockley-Outer Cove team, or the current Outer Cove team who will be competing tomorrow (weather permitting). Instead, we decided to look at another museum artifact that is always part of the Regatta: a Regatta Ribbon donated by Michelle Hickey.
1993 Regatta Ribbon in the museum collection [997.15.4]

This particular ribbon is from 1993 and would have been worn by a member of the Regatta committee. The ribbon is traditionally done in the colours of the old Newfoundland flag. This one is a little faded, but the colours are pink, white and green. The style of the ribbon changes year after year, but the colours are typically represented.
If you look closely, you can see that the ribbons worn by the committee in 2003 were very similar to this one. Source

The second part of the ribbon contains the necessary race information. In this case, it is the 167th rowing, the Lieutenant Governor is Frederick W. Russell, and weather permitting, the Regatta was to take place on Wednesday, August 4th (it went ahead on that day). The program for the races is listed, including the race and time. The names of the boats and corresponding flag colours are also listed. It explains that the House Flags of winning boats will be hoisted, and the coxswains will wear jackets of corresponding colours. This allows for the committee members to easily identify each team throughout the day. The coxswains are also listed.
Necessary information for committee members is printed on this part of the ribbon. [997.15.4]

And for easy reference, the current records up to that year are printed on the ribbon. In this case it reads:
Record for the Full Course - 8:59:42 made by Smith Stockley-Outer Cove in 1991 rowing in the Good Luck
Record for the Women's Course - 5:08:34 made by OZ FM in 1990 rowing in the Blue Peter VI.

Finally, the remainder of the ribbon lists the Regatta president, honourary presidents, the St. John's Regatta committee and the list of officials for that Regatta (such as the judges, timekeepers, gunners, etc.).

1907 Regatta Committee members wearing their ribbons. From The Rooms [1.502.057]

These ribbons would typically be worn upside down. Looking closely at this one, there are faint holes at the bottom of the ribbon but none at the top, indicating that it was indeed worn upside down. This allows the wearer to turn the ribbon upward so that they can read the information, instead of having to take it off every time they wanted to  read it.

Tomorrow (weather permitting) see if you can spot the officials and take note of their Regatta Ribbons.
1906 Regatta Committee members wearing their ribbons. From The Rooms [1.502.064]

And because we are the Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove Museum, here are the highlights on how the Outer Cove Coldwell Banker team did on Wednesday, August 4, 1993. From the Royal St. John's Regatta website.


Men’s Amateur Race: Outer Cove Coldwell Banker – Dictator – 9:30.69
Cox: Gerard Doran Stroke: Jim Hibbs
David Kelly, Ray Cadigan, Steve Finney, Tony Cadigan, Darrin Hyde, Pat Power

Men’s Commercial Race: Outer Cove Coldwell Banker – Dictator – 10:08.08
Cox: Gerard Doran Stroke: Jim Hibbs
David Kelly, Ray Cadigan, Steve Finney, Tony Cadigan, Darrin Hyde, Pat Power

Men’s Championship Race: Outer Cove/Coldwell Banker – Dictator – 9:20.23
Cox: Gerard Doran Stroke: Jim Hibbs
David Kelly, Ray Cadigan, Steve Finney, Tony Cadigan, Darrin Hyde, Pat Power

Sources:
Canada's Digital Collection: The Royal St. John's Regatta website
Royal St. John's Regatta website

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Stories From Red Cliff: Aloha



Red Cliff photo by the Conservation Corps Green Team 2007
Construction at the American Air Force Radar Station at Red Cliff started in 1951, and the base was operational from 1954 until 1962. The facility was one of a number of radar stations throughout North America and Greenland which were called the Pine Tree Line. The purpose of the Pine Tree Line was to act as a defence system against enemy aircraft. Gander, Goose Bay and Argentia were all part of this defence system. Their goal was to protect North America from potential invasion, and day-to-day operations at Red Cliff involved contacting and identifying all incoming aircraft to Newfoundland airspace, directing said aircraft to Gander or Torbay, facilitating distress calls and aiding the Coast Guard search and rescue efforts, and being at the ready in case of unidentified aircraft needing to be escorted or intercepted.
Red Cliff photo by the Conservation Corps Green Team 2007

Red Cliff was a semi-remote, self-sufficient base constructed on an exposed area of the coast in what is now Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer cove. When it was fully operational, Red Cliff had a contingent of between 120 and 160 military personnel and over one hundred civilian workers. Many of the military personnel came from much favourable climates, and found the harsh weather of Newfoundland to be a shock.
Red Cliff photo by the Conservation Corps Green Team 2007

This letter was found in our archives. It is from Jeremiah “Jerry” Alapai Pahukula who served at Red Cliff for 1 year and 8 months as a radar operator. During his time at Red Cliff, he met and married Ellen Margaret Roche. They were married on April 24, 1961. Since leaving Red Cliff in 1961, Jerry returned three times, and noted that “All of the buildings are gone now; site is now overgrown with bushes”.





Aloha,
My name is Jeremiah PAHUKULA. I am of Hawaiian-Japanese ancestry, and I live in the state of Hawaii, USA.
My wife is Ellen Margaret PAHUKULA, nee ROCHE, born and raised in Logy Bay and now living in Hawaii.
I was a member of the U.S. Air Force and my tour of duty at Red Cliff Air Force Station began on December 13, 1959. the date sticks in my mind because it was my 20th birthday.
Prior to coming to NFLD, I was stationed in California. When I got my orders to transfer to Newfoundland, I wondered, “where in the world is NFLD?” I had not heard of this New Found Land before that order to transfer there. When I did find out where it was, I thought, “wow that’s snow country.” I was not disappointed. There was snow on the ground the day that I got here. Later, throughout my first night on Red Cliff, a snow storm came. There was 6-7’ snow drifts blocking the front door of my barracks. Being the newest member of my work crew, I was assigned to shovel all the snow and clear the sidewalk to the barracks. What a cultural shock it was. From Hawaii’s sun, sand and sea to 6-7’ snowdrifts. And this was only my first full day in NFLD. I spend 20 months here.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Museum Highlights: St. John's Regatta 1926 Silver Cup

Looking through the Sports section of the museum, the dominant theme is of course the 1901 Outer Cove Crew. But Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove has a long history with the Royal St. John's Regatta that goes well beyond the championship races of 1901 and 1982.

1926 Regatta Silver Cup [999.1.1]
One item that catches the eye among the Regatta programs is a silver cup. This cup reads:

ST. JOHN'S REGATTA
1926
PRESENTED BY
HIS EXCELLENCY
SIR WILLIAM ALLARDYCE K.C.M.G.

Sir William Lamond Allardyce was the governor of Newfoundland from 1922-1928. According to the program for the day, Allardyce was offering the Governor's Cup for the quickest time of the day, which came with a bonus of $20.
Lady Allardyce, Hon. W.J. Higgins and Governor Allardyce at the Regatta during Sir Douglas Haig's visit, 1942. Maritime History Archives [PF 315.318]

This cup was won by the Outer Cove crew in the Star of the Sea with a time in the championship race of 9:41:00. The crew was L. Rodgers, cox; W. Power, stroke; S. Power, D. Houston, J. Coady, N. power and M. Smart.
A hand-written note in the Souvenir Regatta Programme notes the time, the racer and the crew for the championship race.

The cup was found in the church, and Father St. John was going to throw it away when Katherine Lynch, the parish secretary at the time, asked if she could take it. Later, it was donated to the museum by her husband, Cyril Lynch.

The program for that Regatta features the caribou of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, it being only ten years since the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel. The introduction in the pamphlet reminds everyone that there are medals offered by Earl Brassey for the crew that beats the 1901 Outer Cove time, and mentions the recent retirement of the racer Blue Peter. Blue Peter II was present at this regatta.
Cover of the 1926 program. From the Digital Archives Initiative

Over the lunch hour, dory races between bank fishermen of Nova Scotia that were in port at the time were planned. An announcement for the Grand Regatta Dance for that night at Prince's Rink is hailed as "The Big Outstanding Event". At 70c for gents and 50c for ladies, the dance would feature two big brass and reed bands; The C.C.C. Band and the Mount Cashel Boys' Band, and would follow the "Old Time Regatta Proramme". As someone who loves a waltz or foxtrot, I believe this should start up again, complete with competition (and perhaps some lessons for those unfamiliar with the dances).
A Moonlight Dance sounds quite romantic. From the Souvenir Regatta Program.

As always, the Regatta is a lot of fun, and here at LBMCOC Museum, we are proud of the Outer Cove crews who have, and continue to, do great at the Royal St. John's Regatta.



Sources:

The Newfoundland Tourist and Publicity Association
1926  Souvenier Regatta Programme. Available at the Digital Archives Initiative: http://collections.mun.ca/cdm/ref/collection/cns/id/145180

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Museum Highlights: Seed Sowers

A little while ago we posted an article on the museum facebook page from Decks Awash that talked about the dairying business in Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove. While we may all be focused on #CapelinRoll2016 and waiting for those little fish to roll on to the beach at Middle Cove, it is important to know that there is more to the area than just the fishery.
Capelin would often be caught in large quantities to be used as fertilizer for local farms and gardens. From This Way to The Grotto... 1984.

This week we turn to the agricultural history of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove. A tour of Marine Drive and Outer Cove Road shows the farming history of the area, with many residents using fishing to supplement their livelihoods, and hoping every spring that they can get their small farms established before the fishing season started.

Seed sower [007.1.10]
One tool used in farming was the seed sower. There are two different styles of sower at the museum, a simple one and a more complex device.
Seeds would be inserted in the hole and would fall down through other, smaller holes along the wheel. [007.1.10]
The simple seed sower was used by filling the wheel with whatever seed was to be sown (as long as it was small enough to pass through the holes in the wheel) and pushed along the row. This style of sower had very little control, but certainly served its purpose.

This sower was donated by Jack and Fay Hickey and is showing its age and how much it was used to sow the fields.
Complex seed sower with the name Ed Thomas written on the handle. [000.6.4]

The second sower we have is a little more complex. It consists of two wheels and a small well for the seeds. Pulling a wire connected to the handle would open the bottom of the well, allowing the seeds to fall to the soil. This style of sower did not space the seeds as much as the simple one, but did allow for less wasted seed as the flow of seeds could be stopped by pushing the wire back down, closing the bottom of the seed well.
Closer view of the seed well and wheels. [000.6.4]
This sower was donated by Nicholas Roche.
Top view of the seed well [000.6.4]



Saturday, 9 July 2016

First Giant Squid Caught By Logy Bay Fishermen


Source: http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/46360/title/First-Photo-of-Intact-Giant-Squid--1874/

Squid are strange creatures. To this day little is known about many of them, least of all is known about the giant squid. But it is a fact that the first picture of a giant squid was made possible by fishermen from Logy Bay. Before then, it was considered a creature of mythology, and the fishermen in Newfoundland that were attacked by these creatures were considered by some -- in the new age of rationality -- to be fools. This photographic evidence would serve as a photograph which "could not lie and would silence the gainsayers", according to the buyer of the squid, Moses Harvey.


A year before this picture was taken, fishermen from Portugal Cove who were manning a small boat, had cut off a couple of tentacles from a giant squid. One of these tentacles served as a meal for a dog, another 19 foot tentacle was brought to a Presbyterian Irish priest as evidence of their small battle for survival. This priest, apparently quite homesick and lost in the natural, estimated the creature to be 72 feet long. “He was known in St. John’s in the mid- and late 1800s as just being crazy after all things from the land and the sea.” says Matthew Gavin Frank, author of the 2014 book Preparing the Ghost.

The fisherman discovered this giant 27 foot long squid thrashing in their net and decided to bring it to the priest who was offering a reward of 10 dollars per tentacle. They were paid 10 dollars for the entire squid, since that was quite a lot of money back then. A dollar or two would be enough to buy a year's subscription to a newspaper.

News of the squid spread quite quickly around the world. P.T. Barnum, famous circus promoter, purportedly offered his bid for the carcass of the wild beast. Even scientists considered it to be "the problem of the giant squid".

The condition of the body of this squid was not good however it allowed Addison Emery Verrill, prominent Yale University zoologist, to produce the world's first accurate depictions of deep sea giganticism in animated form, ending millenia of superstition on the topic of "sea monsters".

Other examples of bizarre squid

Aside from the giant squid, many other strange types of squid exist of which little is known. One very bizarre kind dwells at the bottom of the ocean, Vampyroteuthis infernalis, or the vampire squid, can be found throughout the temperate and tropical oceans of the world at depths of 600 to 900 metres (2,000 to 3,000 ft). This habitat is known as the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) and at around 3% oxygen saturation, creatures must make very special adaptions to survive here.

One such adaption is a very low metabolic rate. They cannot swim for very long due to the weaker muscles which they possess due to the need to economize energy. The main source of energy at the bottom of the ocean comes from energy generated at the surface, falling as "rain" to the murky depths. A single dead phytoplankton cell could take ten years to make this journey, but more realistically it will stick to mucus and sand and form together in clunks. This is a major energy source for creatures at the bottom.

This means that predators of the vampire squid are quite rare, and inhabiting the very bottom of the ocean where oxygen levels are so low is surely part of its' survival strategy. However, if something comes along and attempts to eat it, it can be quite fast for a short period of time. Most interestingly, if it is cornered it can release a sticky cloud of bioluminescent mucus containing innumerable orbs of blue light which is ejected from its arm tips instead of ink -- like many creatures at the bottom, in this lightless environment, it must generate its' own light. However this is very metabolically costly and only done in extreme situations.

As you can see there are still many strange and exotic creatures at the bottom of the ocean - squid perhaps topping that list. These strange creatures, which evolved from snails, still possess a portion of their shell. This is known as "the beak" and it is strong enough to cut through human bone. That just goes to show how impressive an accomplishment this was - for the fishermen of Logy Bay to finally prove that the danger lurking at these depths was real... and formidable!

Written by Andrew Young


Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Capelin and Climate Change




Capelin are what is known as an r-selected species, which means that their strategy as a species is focused on quantity or high growth rate, instead of investing heavily into any single member of their species (such as humans, whales, etc). As such, finding ideal conditions to reproduce in are fundamental in the same sense that education is fundamental to people, as a strategy.

El Niño is associated with a band of warm ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific and this can affect global climates in a variety of ways. Its impact on the Atlantic is generally considered negligible as far as Newfoundland itself is concerned when we are specifically looking at surface ocean temperatures. However it does have the effect of heating up waters to the south such as in the Gulf of Mexico.

This may be important because capelin are pelagic fishes, "pelagic" is derived from Greek πέλαγος (pélagos), meaning "open sea". These are essentially fish that live near the surface of the sea but not around the coast. Therefore, climatatic events such as El Niño affect them adversely because surface ocean temperatures are the most susceptible to change.

As one could imagine, the bottom of the ocean is the most impervious to light for example, in fact it is fairly resistant to any particular variable because the surface is there to absorb most of the impact (although the species that live below the surface are heavily dependant on the surface). The surface ocean temperature has been heating up over the last hundred years or so in general, but climatic events such as El Niño could have potentially altered conditions further.

To add to the complexity of these conditions, the pelagic or "open sea" areas off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador are either one of or perhaps the only location in the entire world that has been experiencing cooling. Fish like capelin actively seek cooler waters. Locations such as this area of water that is approximately 500 kilometers off the coast of Newfoundland allow these capelin the opportunity to avoid the adverse effects that El Niño and global climate change could have upon them.

Why might this area be cooling when the rest of the world is almost positively heating up? It is thought that the melting glacier water from Greenland, which is fresh water, is entering the Atlantic. This cold, fresh water - which has a tendency to rise above the warmer salt water - is weakening the warm Gulf current. These factors may have been involved in the weakening of the cod fishery in Newfoundland. The heart rate of cod fish can change drastically with temperature change of a few degrees. Cod tend to go deep into the water during the day and closer to the surface at night.

It may also perhaps affect capelin in some way. It remains to be seen how. Perhaps it is not a negative situation as far as capelin are concerned, but it is just important to understand what the unique conditions are out there so if we notice sigificant increases or decreases within this species, then we may be able to attribute these quantity changes to a particular event. This is especially important to consider as we are actually inside an event known as "La Niña", which more often than not, tends to follow El Niño. La Niña generally means cooler temperatures in the Pacific, but warmer in the Atlantic. We are in a La Niña event right now.

La Niña 



Written by Andrew Young

Source:

http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/north-atlantic-cold-blob-could-affect-gulf-stream-weather-europe-eastern-us/52869594