Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring 2010 Week 1!!!

Our term started with a tour of the science center on Monday, introducing new students to the in's and out's of Hatfield. Tuesday's schedule included a trip to Cascade Head, but poor weather turned our field trip into a journey to the Newport dock's instead. On the docks we searched for invertebrates living near the surface and under discrete hiding spots and came upon a sea nettle. This was our first excursion, and all students had a chance to learn more about the town we now live in. The day ended with pie and discussion about our dream jobs.

Wednesday we went up to Boiler Bay, a site 20 minutes north of Newport. Here we happily collected tidal organisms in teams and brought them back to the lab for further investigation. We collected a wide variety of invertebrates including sea stars, nudibranchs, peanut worms, crabs, anemones, and urchins.

Thursday we ventured out to Strawberry Hill at Cape Perpetua. This unique ecosystem is habitat for a multitude of mussels. Since Strawberry Hill has a shallow shelf heading out to open ocean, upwelling events create trapped water and an area in which phytoplankton thrive. Since abundance in phytoplankton reduces visibility and light availability, algae have less opportunity to colonize. Because algae are mussel's greatest competition in tidal zones, this lack of algae results in an over abundance of mussels. The day ended with a guest lecture by John Chapman about biological invasions.

The week ended with a field trip planned to the mud flats in Yaquina Bay. Only a small group decided to brave the near hurricane conditions to go out and collect mud shrimp. The rest of the day was dedicated to lecture and laboratory work. Our first week went by quickly, and after a much needed couple days off, week 2 will surely be an exciting challenge.

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