Penn State brook trout researchers featured in new ‘Expedition Chesapeake’ film

The movie team observed brook trout researchers Tyler Wagner and Shannon White to Shanerburg Run in Sullivan County, where they had been monitoring the motion and status of brook trout for the ultimate 4 years. Using the digital camera increase the group is putting in right here, video become recorded of the scientists accumulating and measuring brook trout and discussing the major threats to brook trout conservation.  IMAGE: TYLER WAGNER/PENN STATE

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — It’s a protracted way from Shanerburg Run, now not a ways from Williamsport, Pennsylvania, to the nearest shores of the Chesapeake Bay … approximately two hundred miles. And yet the stream — or extra exactly the research Penn State researchers are engaging in on the Japanese brook trout it harbors — may be highlighted in a brand new movie about the estuary and its watershed.  “Expedition Chesapeake, A Journey of Discovery,” is the first giant-screen film to cognizance at the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed, in addition to the primary film developed via Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts. It will debut at Whitaker’s Harrisburg headquarters in a special displaying March 20. Later this year, it is going to be proven in IMAX theatres around the country.   Developed in partnership with an international-class crew of scientists, educators, and conservationists, “Expedition Chesapeake” encourages audiences to appreciate the fee of the bay and take steps to help long-time period conservation efforts of their groups. Emmy-award-winning naturalist Jeff Corwin leads visitors on an expedition from New York to Virginia, assembly alongside the way the households and teams that are operating collectively to understand and address the troubles facing the USA’s largest estuary.

Shannon White, a doctoral student in Penn State’s Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, and film director Greg Matkosky watching live underwater video feed as they look for brook trout. IMAGE: TYLER WAGNER/PENN STATE


One of the featured groups is Penn State’s Tyler Wagner and Shannon White, researchers within the College of Agricultural Sciences who’ve been reading brook trout within the Keystone State’s picturesque Loyalsock Creek Watershed. Shanerburg Run is a scenic and effective tributary of the “‘Sock” in Sullivan County.  Wagner, adjunct professor of fisheries ecology, has been studying the ecology of eastern brook trout for greater than a decade. White, a member of Wagner’s studies organization and a doctoral student in Penn State’s Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, is discovering the behavioral and molecular ecology of brook trout to assist with the management and conservation of this iconic species.  Because brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis — “fish of the fountains”) require cool, clean water to continue to exist, they’re considered an indicator of fitness in streams and watersheds they inhabit, according to Wagner. Although historically tremendous in regions with bloodless water and suitable habitat conditions, brook trout are actually a species of difficulty throughout plenty in their native range within the jap United States.


“Most populations were extirpated, significantly decreased or remoted to small headwater streams largely as a result of the land-use exchange, which includes ancient deforestation and current land-use change, acid deposition, and competition with non-local species,” he stated.  White stated that brook trout are an vital a part of the region’s herbal historical past; but, brook trout populations within the Chesapeake Bay watershed have fallen notably during the last 150 years, which has influenced efforts geared toward restoring and sustaining clearly reproducing brook trout populations.   Attempts to restore and maintain brook trout populations, she explained, are one piece of a broader intention held with the aid of many countries and federal companies inside the Chesapeake Bay watershed: to repair, decorate, and protect the land, water, and variety of fish and wildlife that utilize those habitats, and to boom public blessings consisting of water exceptional and leisure uses.  “It’s without a doubt essential to spotlight this species as a way to illustrate that the fitness of the bay pretty literally starts right here, in the headwaters,” she said. “Maintaining and restoring brilliant habitat in those small streams — where brook trout can thrive — has top-notch implications for the fitness of the complete watershed, including the estuary.”


The digicam at the increase become plunged under the water’s surface to reveal brook trout swimming, feeding and interacting within the flow currents. The fish have superb behaviors and live in some of the most complex habitats, in line with the researchers. IMAGE: TYLER WAGNER/PENN STATE The movie team accompanied Wagner and White to Shanerburg Run, where they have been tracking the movement and status of brook trout for the last 4 years. The team captured video of the scientists amassing and measuring brook trout and discussing the essential threats to brook trout conservation.   They then plunged the digital camera under the water’s floor to expose fish swimming, feeding and interacting in the currents. Capturing superb video for an IMAX film within the middle of the woodland was no clean feat, with a good deal of the day spent hauling heavy device to the streamside and adjusting for proper digicam angles and lighting fixtures. But, as White explained, the efforts are vital for advancing public recognition approximately stream conservation.      “Sometimes it’s tough for people to get excited about fish conservation due to the fact these organisms aren’t right now obvious to the naked eye — you could pressure right beyond a population of brook trout and in no way comprehend it,” she said.   “But fish have super behaviors and live in some of the most complicated habitats. This film without a doubt helps emerge visitors into the underwater world and brings a new attitude to challenges with conservation of aquatic sources in standard, and within the Chesapeake Bay watershed especially.”

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