Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Greetings, bloggers! We thought that as a last post we would present a compilation of the semester in pictures! So, sit back and enjoy...
Who could forget day 2 at Cascade Head? After a relaxing 1500 foot vertical climb, we were treated to stunning views of the ocean and wonderful weather. Unfortunately, it was not to last.
Our first group photo. And our second. And third. And 20th. We would never look this young again.
The search for invertebrates was the agenda for the first week, with the occasional dead and decomposing octopus to keep us entertained.
Visiting the local docks in Newport in the continuing search for those elusive Ctenophores!
(They showed up about a week later)
Trips to the local aquarium helped in adding more critters to our ever expanding notebooks, while also allowing us to spend some quality time together.
Having helpful TA's ever available was a boon to those of us trying to memorize vast amounts of science. Here, Margot was helping us tell the difference between Cryptosiphonia and
Polysiphonia. Of course, many of us can now tell these two apart in our sleep. Then again, many of us can't.
And who could forget this momentous occasion? For the first time in 30 years of teaching, Bruce Menge canceled a field trip due to weather. It wasn't too bad, if you liked 50 mph winds. Instead, we got to go back and listen to 4 hours of lectures. Woohoo!
After our day "off," it was back to business community ecology style. Now let's see... was that 5,276 C. dalli, or 5,277?
After 1 day off, we jumped into fish week and broke the trawling net!
It was nice to see Yaquina Bay from a different perspective (other than covered in about 2 feet of mud).
We caught many more specimens to once again fill our notebooks full of beautiful drawings. Every fish caught was another opportunity to draw another picture in our books. All of us were extremely excited and motivated by that prospect!
Karen showed up the next week, and we became familiar with the business end of marine conservation and policy.
We also had a chance to visit the Audubon Sanctuary. Before we arrived, there was a playground that was empty. Some folks (Megan and Christine) couldn't resist...
At Ten Mile Creek, we were shown a fishery monitoring station and the efforts by ODFW to manage this basin.
Another group shot. At this point, nobody was interested in setting up 20 cameras anymore.
Then, our research projects began. We had a week "off" to collect our field data, then a week back "on" to finish up in community ecology, part 2. Here, we were more interested in the biological interactions that affected organisms within the estuarine, salt marsh, and dune environments.
Our final group shot. If you look closely, you will see a lot more gray hairs in this photo.
The last couple days have been devoted to the arduous task of compiling the mountain of data that many of us have accumulated and trying to organize it in such a way that it will actually make sense. Sound easy? It is until you actually start.
Here is a typical scene for those of us whose data wasn't compiling in such a way that made sense. It was a good idea to take a number so that you could be seen in order by Sally.
And the end result? A moment of glory! A chance to shine! Or not...
It's been a long road, but none of us are the same people we were when we started out 2 months ago. Thanks to all the great staff including Sally, Annette, Bruce, Scott, and Karen. Also, thanks to all the great TA's including Margot, Alison, and Jeremy.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Our first stop was to see the cobra like flower the Darlingtonia, it lures insects in with tantalizing nectar and brilliant colors once inside they get confused, it traps and then digests them. We only caught a glimpse and we were off for Honeyman.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
After returning from a fabulous 3 day weekend it was back to work. Sally started out the day with a lecture on Community Ecology. We discussed Estuaries before heading out to the Salt Marsh in front of our apartments here at Hatfield.
We stopped to chat on the boardwalk before venturing into the Salt Marsh. First we stopped and ate some Salicornia, an edible plant that can be pickled. It was very salty.
Sally busted out the Redox meter and began testing the mud for oxygen content. In a Neotrypaea (ghost shrimp) burrow the redox meter read 10, but in the black anoxic mud the oxygen content was as low as -299. Here is Aleshia taking measurements.
Along for the journey was another fun tool the Refractometer. Ashley, a little confused at first used it to measure the salinity of the water.
We wandered around the marsh for awhile looking at unique plants like Triglochin, which smells like coriander. We also found a now rare three edged plant used by Native Americans for basket weaving. Our T.A. Jeremy got stuck in the mud. Tomorrow the dunes...
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
If you've been reading our blog up until now, it's fairly apparent that our schedule is pretty rigorous. This week, however, we've been set loose on the intertidal! That's right: we get to conduct our very own research! Basically, the last three weeks of the course are set aside (well, mostly) for these over-arching projects. The best part is, we can look into whatever we want! Let the evil plans commence! Bwahahahaha!
The project subjects range from work with crabs to work with urchins, limpets, chitons, sea stars, snailfish, sculpin and tidepools! There are many interesting ideas and setups. The creative jucies are definitely flowing! Things are just underway though, so more is definitely to come. We should be looking forward to some very interesting data and presentations come Week 10!
Oh, it's not all fun-and-games, though...waking up at 5 AM to scour the rocky intertidal can be pretty trying, not to mention tiring! We split some of the class into two groups (SH and BB) to get the projects underway. Other groups took their own initiative and worked on their own elsewhere. We all know that Strawberry Hill is usually a blast, but not at 6 in the morning. Boiler Bay wasn't much better. Thankfully to save some of us from getting even sicker the weather held up fairly nicely and the rain subsided. Still, with these comprising 25% of our total grade for the course, we think that it's worth it (rain or shine!).
A photo of the Strawberry Hill crew:
Various research project photos:
Megan Poole's setup:
Sean, Alissa and Shiane's setup:
More photos to come later in the week! ;)
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday was spent down South of Hatfield in an ongoing restoration effort. First we headed out to Yachats City Hall for a passionate lecture by Paul Engelmeyer . He informed us of ongoing projects that he and several other members of the Audubon Society have been working on. He also described the state of many salmon, rockfish, sea birds, and mammals that have raised concerns along the Oregon coasts.
After a quick diversion on the City Hall playground, we were off in our vans to meet up with Chris, who had been monitoring a section of Ten Mile Creek searching mostly for juvenile salmon swimming out to sea and back again. Chris explained their methods of collecting and releasing the younger fish back upstream. He also showed us a few examples of different aged species living in the cool waters. One thing Paul pointed out to us was the extreme importance of loose logs and stumps that provide a habitat and refuge for the larvae, eggs, and younger species (They are similar to Kelp beds in marine environments that create a more 3-D structured habitat).
From there we did some trekking through a few wooded areas, concentrating mostly on forest growth and habitat restoration. We also enjoyed our delicious packed lunches while listening to Jack, another important contributor to the restoration project.
Thursday began with a lecture on ecosystem based management and meetings about our conservation presentations (to be given Friday afternoon). After a sweltering lunch hour, we headed back into the classroom (or what some deemed as "sauna" due to extreme Newport temperatures). Our afternoon was filled with questions such as "Should marine reserves be in state waters?" and "How do we MANAGE these marine reserves?" There to help inform us about current Oregon policies and political contreversies was Dr. Selina Heppell. Her discussion left with plenty to think about:
**What evidence is needed to answer the question, “why do we need marine reserves in Oregon state waters?”
Well, that about wraps up conservation week. Hope you all had fun and can now explain the difference between MPAs, EBM, Marine sanctuaries, and Marine reserves. Good luck on Friday's presentations and op-eds! And don't forget, as Karen pointed out to us, we are the future of marine conservation.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
Determining the sex of a dead fish is always exciting. We can tell this by removing the gonads and looking at the shape of them in a cross section. For males the cross section is triangular as opposed to females, which are more rounded. We can see an example of female gonads in the image below.
And of course we had to have some fun!
Thursday, May 1, 2008
There’s nothing like starting your week with a little dash of statistical analysis! With our community ecology presentations on Tuesday, Monday was a day full of analyzing data the class collected over the previous week in the field. The class split into groups to highlight and discuss the predator feeding dynamics, biodiversity, tidal pool diversity and community structure of
Wednesday was a well-needed day of rest for all of the Hatfielders. A few dedicated classmates just couldn’t get enough of the intertidal and spent the day tidepooling and relaxing on the beach. Others couldn’t get enough of their pillows and caught up on some necessary sleep hours.
Thursday morning began swimmingly with our introduction to Dr. Scott Heppell and our fish unit! After a morning of lectures we met once again with our dear friend- the intertidal mudflat. Rather than digging for Upogebia sp. today’s adventure was beach seining. We used a quarter inch mesh net, four feet tall and fifty feet long to catch bay fish along the water’s edge. A dedicated class mate would wade out about chest deep in the water carrying one end of the net until it was outstretched. Their partner on the beach would walk along combing the water with the net. After approximately thirty feet of collection the deep edge was brought back to shore capturing any fish that may have been within the sampling area. Fish were identified and counted by our eagerly waiting class and then returned to the estuary. Most fish we found we small juveniles, presumably using the estuary as a nursing ground. We identified English sole, pipefish, chum salmon, smelt, and many species of sculpin. Samples were returned to lab so we could begin our drawings and descriptions for lab notebooks.
We are looking forward to a great day tomorrow with a trawling trip aboard the RV Elahka and a visit to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. It will be very exciting to get to sample the larger life of