Monday, May 4, 2009

A is for Algae...

…And Freakin’ A!!!! Week 5 started Monday April 27th at 6:45am, which was rough as most of us are not morning people.We headed out to Boiler Bay to continue our algae education (the algae section started Thursday of week 4) collecting brown and red algae specimens to bring back to the lab. Annette tried to teach us about the algae in the lower intertidal but was pretty well thwarted by uncooperative waves. There were a lot of mixed feelings on this fieldtrip, some were tired and possibly a little bored, some were trying to be optimistic, but most of us were trying really hard to focus on what Annette had to say. Upon moving to another section of the intertidal, some of our classmates found a very special algae, Egregia, which is commonly known as the feather boa. We all agree that this is a very classy look. The rest of Monday was filled with lectures and lab time focused on phylum Ochrophyta, aka the Phaophytes, aka brown algae.

Tuesday turned out to be a beautiful day, despite the forecast of rain and 40 degree weather. We left for Seal Rock at 7:45am with a much needed extra hour of sleep. We had some reminders of our days studying inverts, which now seems like a long time ago, but then quickly returned our focus to algae. On this trip we found another interesting algae, Desmerestia which secretes an acid and should not be stored with other algae. The next neat looking algae is Postelsia palmaeformis, which ironically looks like something tropical here on the Oregon coast. Back in the rocks at Seal Rock called the “needles,” there was algae that couldn’t be seen from the beach which was a treat for those who dared to climb through. Finally, we found that algae can be fun! This bull kelp makes a great jump rope! Rock encrusting Codium setchellii

could be found surrounded by other algae including Mazzaella spp. and a bushy branched red algae that would have to be identified in the lab. Tuesday and Wednesday we spent a lot of time in class and lab learning about phylum Rhodophyta, aka Red algae, aka the ”Dreaded Reds.”

Wednesday came quickly and we spent a large portion of the day setting up for our group projects. The projects entailed each group becoming experts on a specific type of algae through out the week and presenting them to the class Wednesday night with the main focus of helping each other out for the final and lab practicum. This also came in handy on Thursday when we had lab review because then we were not fighting over Annette like usual because there were experts at all the sections. We then studied all day and all night Thursday for our finals Friday. After the final and lab practicum some parents showed up for Mom’s weekend and we had an awesome chicken dinner/ get together to finalize our week of FREAKIN’ A!!!!

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