Zoology

A Fascination for Fish: Adventures of an Underwater Pioneer by David C. Powell, Sylvia A. Earle

By David C. Powell, Sylvia A. Earle

This enticing memoir provides one man's lifelong love of the sea and provides a hugely own, behind-the-scenes examine California's wonderful and leading edge aquariums. David Powell, for a few years curator of the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium, tells the tale of his existence as a pioneering aquarist. From dealing with nice white sharks to transporting soft fish on bumpy airplanes to nighttime diving for fish within the Indian Ocean, A Fascination for Fish describes a few of the mind-boggling demanding situations that make sleek aquariums attainable and provides an exciting glimpse underneath the ocean's floor.

Powell's profession in diving and aquarium improvement is going again to the start of contemporary equipment in either components. From the early ideas he devised to get fish into aquariums alive and fit to his later exploratory dive to a intensity of 11 hundred toes in a two-person submarine, Powell's action-packed narrative evokes laughter, ask yourself, and philosophical mirrored image. A Fascination for Fish additionally comprises many tales approximately Powell's diving adventures at the California coast, within the Sea of Cortez, and in lots of distant and unique destinations around the globe.

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In 1962 John Prescott and I were on a diving trip on board Marineland’s collecting boat Geronimo to Santa Barbara Island o¤shore. We were diving in a kelp bed on the lee side of the island to collect kelp forest fishes and invertebrates. I hand-netted a nice large scorpionfish, and partly because of the strong surge I barely pricked my finger on one of its spines as I transferred it to John’s net bag. It hurt, but not enough to make me want to quit the dive. When we were almost out of air we started swimming back to the boat against the current.

Dave and his wife, Carolyn, ran an aquarium supply business out of their home in southern California. They had tanks of freshwater fishes and plants throughout their house, garage, and backyard and were breeding fishes that they then delivered to pet shops throughout the area. Dave told me he wanted to begin handling marine fishes as well as freshwater species, and with that in mind he’d made a reconnaissance trip down to the northern end of the Gulf of California. He had a 1957 rear-engine Chevrolet Corvair and had driven it to a place called San Luis Gonzaga, a hundred miles past the end of the paved road at San Felipe.

Three years later, biologist Dan Gotshall with the California Department of Fish and Game published a paper describing the use of a hypodermic needle to release the gases from the expanded swimbladders of rockfishes brought up from the deep. Now, this was more like it; the idea was so simple, with no complicated decompression equipment to contend with. It quickly became the universal method for dealing with expanding swimbladders of all kinds of fish, from rockfish to butterflyfish and even, as I would later have occasion to find out, flashlight fish from the Indian Ocean.

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