Monday, November 30, 2009

Visiting Johannes

Saša, who is staying in Slovenia at the moment, Aleš and his wife Nada visited Johannes Schöffmann and his wife Ida in St. Veit, Austria. We admired Johannes’s rich collection of stuffed salmonids exposed across the living-room wall and enjoyed a lunch prepared by Ida. In the evening, we tasted delicious cakes from Franz Schöffmann Bäckerei und Konditorei, made by Johannes himself.

Inspired by beer and wine, we were discussing Moroccan trout and planning future projects and field trips…Algeria seems to be the next tempting destination.

Unfortunately, most of the taken pictures were accidently deleted from the camera.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Last week, Dušan, Zoran and Aleš spent four pleasant days in Hungary visiting Dr. Ákos Horváth and his team working at the Department of Aquaculture, Szent István University in Gödöllő. The visit was made in a frame of Slovene-Hungarian bilateral project "Cryopreservation of sperm and establishment of a cryobank of the Adriatic grayling (Thymallus thymallus) from the Soča river".

Besides doing some cryo-lab work, we also took this opportunity to sample three locations in Bükki Nemzeti Park, supposedly inhabited by native brown trout populations (genetic testing underway). We also visited Lillafüred trout breeding farm close to Miskolc run by Mr. György Hoitsy. Here we ate an excellent cat-fish goulash with baked pasta and white cheese cooked by his wife.

On the last day of our visit, the Hungarian colleagues along with Dr. Zoran Spirkovski from Hydro Biological Institute (Ohrid, Macedonia) presented their initiative for organizing the 2nd Conference for Conservation & Management of Balkan Freshwater Fishes (COMBAFF), which should be held in September 2010 in Hungary. Aleš was invited to participate in scientific committee... OK, he couldn't say no.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Annual testing of marble trout from zone of hybridization

Just like last year and a year before that, we performed genetic testing of fish from the zone of hybridization. This year we have received fin clips from 43 individually tagged trout from lower Trebuščica (the upper is home to one of 8 genetically pure populations of marble trout). These samples were checked for non native genetic characteristic on 5 nuclear genetic markers (each genetic marker in 2 copies, one allele inherited from each parent) and on 1 mitochondrial genetic marker (in 1 copy, inherited from the mother only). Out of 43 samples, 13 show signs of hybridization with non native trout, 4 sample will not be used because of low quality of DNA isolate (not included in the table). Eggs and sperm will be taken from 26 trout with no detectable brown trout genetic characteristics, fertilised and raised in the hatchery, released back in the zone of hybridization. DNA isolation and genotyping was carried out by Gašper.

Below is a simplified table of genotypes. These genotypes are not publishable, since the initial sampling was biased, only marble trout (by general appearance) were sampled, so the actual percentage of non native alleles in sampled locations might differ from our results (8.2% for nuclear markers, 2.6% for mtDNA marker).

Table of genotypes across 1 mitochondrial and 5 nuclear markers. Samples with non native (=brown trout alleles) are marked red and will not be used in restoration program. M - marble trout specific allele, B - brown trout specific allele.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

LIFFe 2009

LIFFe stands for Ljubljana International Film Festival. To be honest, most people still refer to the festival as LIFF (especially those who are aware of the meaning of liff). As mentioned last year, BTRG selects a movie with a fish related title. There were 5 movies to choose from this year, last year's winner was Encounters at the End of the World, this year it was Fish Tank. There is hardly a place for fish in an English social drama, but several things were unexpectedly connected to our work. For instance, there actually was a fishing scene and a memorable "fish are stupid" quote. The main actor was Michael Fassbender, who also played in Inglourious Basterds, last movie we saw as a part of team building. And of course, the main music theme was Bobby Womack's version of California dreamin', a very appropriate song just 2 months before Urška and Aleš will represent BTRG at the Plant and genome conference on a winter's day in the same state.
Anyway, Tamara, Urška and Andrej attended this year's LIFFe event, along with Daliborka and her team as special guest stars. Anja and Aleš were absent at the last minute notice due to emergency sampling expedition. In the boss's absence there was enough time for conversation and some gossiping after the movie (until the waitress kicked us out).