Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Friday Fun at NOAA

Last Friday (July 26th) was the Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute open house, and man was it fun! The lab hosted tours, an interactive touch tank, NOAA partners in research and management, and had yummy refreshments courtesy of the Ted Stevens Foundation. I was on aquarium duty, so I got to meet people right as they came in and answer any questions they had about the fish, crabs, and other animals in the facility's aquaria. If you didn't have a chance to make it out, don't worry: I took notes!

The TSMRI (that's our little acronym for this lab... scientists and their abbreviations, amirite?) entrance has these lovely metal "walls" that line the sidewalk leading to the front doors. They make me smile with their shiny rockfish and herring, but what really catches my eye is the little metal Dungeness crab.

see it?

oh, why thank you, welcome crab!

What can I say, I love metal dungies! Even nerdy Lord-of-the-Rings-referencing ones. Moving in to the building you are greeted with our largest aquarium (there are three more around the back). It holds several species of rockfish, some sculpins, sablefish, dolly vardin, kelp greenlings, and a lingcod.

lots of things to ooh and aah over

It also currently holds some snazzy red king crabs (Paralithodes camtschaticus) and some cheeky Dungeness crabs (Metacarcinus magister)!

Hi, gorgeous!

SFOS student Jennifer Stoutamore took time to say "Hi"
to her fellow king crabs on her way to the UAF table

this Dungy was photobombed by a greenling

Aside from the aquarium and the great tours through the lab, the touch tank was a huge crowd pleaser! It was stocked with sea stars, sea cucumbers, hermit crabs, lyre crabs, Tanner crabs, urchins... the list goes on and on!

holding a hermit crab - outreach in action

a Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) showing off
his perfect M-shaped mouth and bright red eyes

Check out KTOO's coverage of the event here to see more photos and hear the open house in action. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tour the NOAA lab in Juneau!

Saturday July 27th is Ted Stevens Day in Alaska. Say what you will about Senator Stevens (his life certainly wasn't boring), but the United States has protected and managed fisheries because of the Fishery Conservation and Management Act, passed with no small effort from Sen. Stevens (R-AK) and Sen. Warren Magnuson (D-WA). You probably know it as the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The highlights:
Promote safety of human life at sea
(I was certainly thankful for this as a fisheries observer!)

Prevent overfishing while reaching an optimum yield

Manage fisheries based on the BEST scientific information available

Take into account the importance of fishery resources on fishing communities
and minimize any negative impacts to those communities
(obviously a big deal up here!)

Limit bycatch mortality
(this affects a lot of groundfish fisheries that may scoop up
our beloved crabs as well as their intended catch)

I paraphrased these from a pamphlet at my work. Where is that, you may be asking? Why, at the Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute. Thanks for asking. We're hosting an open house and giving tours of the NOAA facility tomorrow to celebrate Ted Stevens Day, and you're invited! Swing by July 26th anytime between 2:30 and 7:00 pm to take a tour, handle some sea stars at our touch tank, and nosh on snacks complimentary of the Ted Stevens Foundation. I'll be there working (SCIENCE!) and hanging out by the aquarium to answer any questions you may have, crabby or otherwise!

Ted Stevens *hearts* king crabs

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Summer means Dungie-eating season!

It has been super sunny in Juneau which means two things: little work is actually being accomplished and lots of fish and crabs are being caught! One of my favorite recipes I learned last year is

Pasta with Vodka Crab Sauce

This is so easy and amazingly addictive. I start by wrangling my ingredients:

Pasta - I like penne with this, but I'm sure any will do
1 cup Dungeness crab meat (or more!)
1 jar vodka sauce, or make your own
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 roma tomato, diced
Parmesan cheese for topping

(the wine in your Snow Crab Love mug is optional)

First I get my pasta going: bring salted water to boil and throw the pasta in!

Next I like to saute the garlic in about 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Once it gets nice and translucent, I add the vodka sauce.

I wait to throw my crab meat and diced tomato in until the very end because I don't want the crab meat to get over cooked and the fresh tomato gives a nice contrast to the smooth sauce. What I like to do is drain the pasta once it's cooked, add the crab and tomato to the sauce, then toss the pasta in the sauce.

I serve the pasta immediately and like to top it with a healthy amount of Parmesan cheese. I have yet to snap a photo before eating it, but it looks something like this:

Try it out and let me know what you think! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Change it up and make it your own:

I use a vodka sauce most of the time, but I've also tried this with a sun-dried tomato alfredo sauce which was super tasty!

Have you ever had garlic scapes? Holy buckets, my friends, they're good! I sliced up a couple scapes similar to the way you might cut up scallions and threw those into a batch instead of my minced garlic. The result was a mild garlic flavor with a fun fresh crunch that really livened up my pasta.

Do I think this would be great with cheese tortellini? Yes! How about ravioli? Why not!?!