Monday, April 29, 2013

What does seaweed say when it’s stuck at the bottom of the sea?… “Kelp! Kelp!”

Lets Learn About Algae!

Thursday was the first day of algae. We met Dr. Olson and started right in on learning the phylogenetic and thallus differences between the three phyla of seaweeds. We had our first lab in which we tried to identify the characteristics that we had just learned about, such as holdfasts and branching patterns, as well as guessing the phylum. We didn't waste any time. After all the lectures were over we learned how to key algae using a dichotomous key. Following dinner we met back in the lab where we got a lesson in pressing algae and some teams had a one on one meeting with Annette and Jeremy to discuss what algae to look for in the field.

Baby Pisaster and Prionitis (it smells like bleach : / ).
The Early Bird Gets The Worm.

Friday we had to wake up extra early to catch the low tide at Seal Rock. After a five am wake up call we all met at the vans for our first day of algae hunting. 

Annette talking about Neorhodomela larix.
Katie, Anna, and Aubree playing tug-o-war with Egregia menziesii.
Annette walked us through most of the algae we saw, explaining how to tell differences between them and of which phylum they belonged. She also gave us a brief lesson in the natural history of Seal Rock. We saw many dykes and surge channels in the sandy area. The sediment creates fluid pressure causing cracks in the volcanic rock. We also talked about how the vegetation up high prevents erosion of the land. Houses can't be built too close to the shore, because without the natural vegetation the house would slip into the water. 
Jake giving himself a Halosaccion glandifomre/ Neorhodomela larix mustache.
We got back to class and learned more about Phaeophytes (brown algae) and had a keying lab to be able to better identify them. It turns out that brown algae are more difficult to key out than one would think. Everyone struggled with cross-sectioning those little guys! 0_o 
The rest of the teams met with Annette and Jeremy that night, while everyone else hit the volleyball court. 

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