Friday, April 22, 2011

Week 4: End of Fish and Beginning of Algae

Monday, April 18th, 2011

After working on the Marine Fishes section material Sunday, we continued to work hard all day to make sure we finished our assignments. With bloodshot eyes we stared at our lectures, notes, species profiles and research papers in hopes of doing well on the upcoming exam, but the stress did not wear us down. With the passion only a marine biologist could possess, we pressed on in pursuit of what we love. One thing that made it harder than usual to study is the unusually gorgeous weather we had Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. The weather doesn’t always seem to cooperate when we are out in the field, but it was at its best right before our tests for both the invertebrate and fish section. Even with the sun calling us out to play, we studied all night long in preparation for our test.

Tuesday April 19th, 2011

The test has arrived! We started our day with our lab practicum. We were tested on the basic anatomy of Marine Fishes, identification of specific local species, and our abilities to correctly use a dichotomous key. After our lunch break we took our lecture based exam. We were tested on the Marine Fishes lecture material, the purpose of fish in our oceans, and their life histories through evolution. After cleaning up the lab, we enjoyed the sun the rest of the day. Of course this meant we played volleyball with Wade Smith and Margot Hessing-Lewis in the beautiful sun!

A group of the students and Wade playing volleyball after our test

Wednesday April 20th, 2011

Algae week; it’s here!!!!! After sleeping in and catching up on the much needed rest we headed to afternoon lecture to learn about algae evolution and life histories. Annette Olson and Margot Hessing-Lewis are our instructors for the Marine Algae section of the class. We also spent time in the lab looking at the specimens Annette had collected during the week. Looking the array of algae in the tanks, we came to realize that classifying algae was going to be harder than we thought. Algae are very diverse and they are hard to identify to the species level without looking at them on a cellular level. We then knew this section would require intensive work that required microscopes, time, and lots of dedication. After getting into groups for our algae project, some of the groups met with Annette to get a better picture of what we could look for on our field trip out to Boiler Bay tomorrow. We sorted specific algae into our designated tank areas and went home to prepare for our early field trip.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

 Melissa, Annette, Karol, Alex, and Jessie (Left to right)
At 7:30am with coffee in hand, we left for Boiler Bay. Five minutes later everyone’s passed out for the drive to the site, but as soon as we arrived at Boiler Bay the sun greeted us with a nice view where we could see algae covered benches that seemed to go forever. Coming here many times before with other purposes in mind we all never gave a second thought about algae but with Annette’s knowledge fresh in our minds we were ready to see what we had learned the day before. We examined the algae with our “heads down and bottoms up” as Annette would say for our specific group algae. We were guided through the slippery algae beds as Annette pointed out various species. She told us about their morphologies and various environments and conditions each type of algae lived under. After collecting all the species we needed and hearing Annette blow her sea kelp horn, we headed back to put our samples in the lab. We continued our day with a lecture and spent time in the lab identifying specific green algaes (Chlorophyta) using microscopes and dichotomous keys. After lab we went home to sleep and prepare for our next day.

Friday April 22, 2011

Our morning started with our first trip to Seal Rock. We have been to the other sites more than once, so we were all excited to visit a new site. After our leisurely hike down to the water, we began our search for more algae to add diversity to our collection. We spent most of our time practicing saying the names of the algae as Annette pointed them out. Who knew learning a new language (Latin) was going to be a dominant part of our curriculum. We did take a couple breaks to have fun-- Hatfield style. Alan and Steven jumped in a big tide pool. People with cameras took pictures with the small tidepool waterfalls and we walked along the shoreline with the small waves crashing at our feet. Once we got back to Hatfield, we put our collected algae species in our tanks and a short lunch break to fuel up. We finished our day with a lecture on the brown algae (Phylum: Phaeophyceae). We had an early afternoon dismissal to enjoy our Easter weekend.
Seal Rock

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