Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Community Ecology Week Part I

For the community ecology section Bruce Menge is our instructor, along with Annette Olson, and Alison Iles is our new TA. On Monday we prepared for our 4 field trips this week and learned how to use transects and quadrats. Our alarm clocks shocked us at 5:30 am for a field trip at 6 am to Boiler Bay to collect data on community structure and predator diets. We lucked out and avoided the storm that was predicted. The next day however.... The storm was raging! Once again we got up at 5:30 am only to arrive at Strawberry Hill and find crashing waves upon our study site. THE HISTORICAL EVENT: Bruce Menge cancels the field trip for the first time in over 20 years!

It was so windy, we had to take a group picture.

On a higher note, no more species names to memorize! We are learning about important studies that have strongly influenced our understanding of community ecology. These studies include some of our very own Oregon State University professors such as Mark Hixon, Jane Lubchenco, Bruce Menge, and various graduate students from OSU labs.

Some principles covered in these studies include key stone species which are species that have a disproportionately large effect on the community relative to their abundance. One of our own keystone species on the Oregon Coast is the one and only Pisaster ochraceous (Paine 1966).

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