Last week I was reading about a University of Illinois study about muskie – and, to be honest, it sounded fishy to me.
The short story is the researchers raised 68 muskie and rated them on four behavioural characteristics. Then they released them in a pond.
Here’s the fishy part.
To complete their study, they then fished for those released muskie for a full month. They said it was so they could ascertain which characteristics made these big predatory fish more susceptible to being caught. So, after a full month of angling for them, they determined the fish that were caught were larger, less aggressive, and less exploratory.
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Oh, sure, it looks like a month-long, paid fishing vacation on the surface. But it was not.
They merely fished for a month. For muskie. In a stocked pond.
Before you get all judgmental, it’s called science.
Bravo good sirs! I doff my chapeau to you all! Well played.
Coincidentally, I am a bit of a citizen scientist. As such, I am now doing preliminary research for a paper about stress reduction techniques. The initial part of the study had me record and rate four characteristic of my stress for the last month. I now have a baseline of my blood pressure, my pulse, my level of throwing things at TV newscasters, and the number of times I shake my fist at other drivers and yell, “Dag-nabbit!”
I now have a scientific baseline.
The next part of the research, should I get the appropriate public or university funding, will be in the Bahamas, where I will spend a month or so researching, by alternately, relaxing on a beach, fly fishing for bonefish, drinking margaritas, and eating copious amounts of fresh seafood. Throughout those activities, I will be working hard, evaluating my stress characteristics and comparing them to the baseline levels I determined here at home.
I know this might sound suspicious, but I am trying to definitively determine, in a scientific manner, if a change of environment and a significant reduction in workload will reduce stress. Sure, we all believe this intuitively, but I think it is important that someone proves it scientifically. And I am very much willing to play the role of guinea pig. You’re welcome.
This is how science moves forward. One experiment at a time. That’s why I am submitting my grant applications to any institution of higher learning that will accept my hypothesis (does Trump University still exist?) and, failing success there, I will start a Go-Fund Me page. My passion for expanding our realm of knowledge will not be thwarted!
Of course, I want to thank those researchers at the University of Illinois for showing me the way. I realized why they did what they did now. They just wanted to be there, fishing for muskies as impersonal scientific observers, with no bias or pre-conceived notions, with the new rods, reels and baits they now had funding to buy.
That’s why, after they fished the pond for a month and caught seven muskies, they revealed their findings, which essentially confirmed that muskie are not the easiest fish in the world to catch – unless they are already in a comfortable lie waiting in ambush.
I get it. They have gathered the scientific evidence required so that others can build upon this knowledge.
As a citizen scientist, I am impressed by their methodology, but I feel more research (with live bait or big flies) is needed.
Next time. Perhaps we could collaborate.