Sunday, April 26, 2009

50-50 Fish and Algae: The Perfect Combination!

Ahoy, mateys! Arrrgh, this exciting week began with a voyage on one of OSU's two research vessels, the Elakha, dressed as pirates. Instead of pillaging and plundering, we went trawling for fish in Yaquina bay. The first trip departed bright and early in the wee hours of the morning, and proved to be more successful than the later trip, catching sculpin, gunnels, starry flounder, and a Pacific sanddab. The second group of scallywags was defeated in a battle just before their turn to board the Elahka. Although the weather was nicer, all they caught was a few flounder. Oh, and some sea stars.

After the voyage on the Elahka, it was full speed ahead to the aquarium where we went on a treasure hunt to find our assigned fishes for a habitat study.

The rest of the day was a scramble to put the finishing touches on our presentations for that evening. We had to create a proposal for marine protected areas off of the Oregon coast. Everyone from the "local community" was there to hear out our proposals: the upset fishermen, critical scientists, annoying ocean resource managers, tree-hugging (or in this case fish-hugging) hippies, and of course the town crazies, who looked a lot like Reed and Mackenzie...

After a late night of cramming, our two exams went off without a hitch. We were glad to have the rest of day and Wednesday off to do absolutely nothing and prepare for the beginning of our algae section on Thursday. We started off with a nice transition between animals and plants, where Annette Olson had us think of different interactions - both good and bad - between algae and sea critters - including limpet hats (an invertebrate we studied weeks ago shows up wearing cute algae attire!). We ended the week with a trip to seal rock on a beautiful day to collect algae specimens for our group presentations. Luckily for Gimpy (aka Kaley), there isn't a hike down a steep cliff to get to the Seal Rock site. We encountered many different types of algae, and learned the very important lesson of which algae you can walk on and not fall on your butt, "Endo is our friendo". There were a lot of specimens for the 'little brown people,' but not so many for other groups.

From our short preview on algae thus far, we can be sure that we will learn a lot in this coming week. Finally we will know the difference between green algae that's really green and green algae that's really red. As well as what these little things are...

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