Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spring 2015 - First Week at Hatfield

Week 1: Welcome and Marine Invertebrates 
Saturday April 4, 2015
By Kaitlin Lebon and Issie Corvi 

Last weekend, after much anticipation, the new set of BI 450 students settled into their new homes.  Our first day consisted of a Hatfield crash course, including tours, orientations, and our first official lecture.  With the basics under our belts, we waited eagerly for our field and lab work to begin. 

Boiler Bay
Vanessa, Ari, and David identifying invertebrates at Boiler Bay
                  Despite the tides not being completely in our favor, we were able to venture out into the intertidal zones of Boiler Bay to explore its populations of invertebrates.  The class eagerly delved into the task of collecting specimens to bring back to our lab for further investigation and identification.  A class favorite was a large red chiton, Cryptochiton stelleri, fondly known as the wandering meatloaf because of its size and mottled color. Other species that were found included the purple sea urchin (Stronglyocentrotus purpuratus), the aggregating anemone (Anthopleura elegantissima), and the kelp crab (Pugettia producta). 
Kat looking for Sipunculids in the roots of seagrass at Boiler Bay  

Kaitlin recording her findings at Boiler Bay
Later that evening we gathered in the dining hall to discuss Oregon geology and to become more acquainted with one another.  We also we treated to pie courtesy of our instructor, Sally Hacker. 

Tokatee Klootchman
A purple Pisaster ochraceus at Tokatee Klootchman 
                  Our second field excursion took us out to Tokatee Klootchman, a site just south of Cape Perpetua.  We continued our task of collecting various intertidal invertebrates.  This site was a favorite for many in the class.  As with past BI 450 classes, we quickly discovered and fell in love with the various species of colorful nudibranchs.  We were also pleased to find that there was a significant population of healthy looking sea stars—encouraging news in wake of the sea star wasting sickness that has been prevalent along the Oregon Coast.
In lecture we learned about sponges, anemones, corals, and jellies. 
The population density at Tokatee Klootchman was incredible - countless Mytilus californianus (mussles), Balanus glandula (acorn barnacle), and Pollicipes polymerus (gooseneck barnacle) (among others) occupied the intertidal. 

Mud Flats of Yaquina Bay
                  Thursday morning we ventured our early in the morning to the local mudflats.  With some last minute words of advice from our instructor Sally Hacker, we were knee deep in mud before we knew it.  Some of us were able to navigate the sticky depths of mud better than others, but in the end we were all able to discover various shrimps and worms to bring back with us. 
Later in lecture we were told about the various types of worms, many of which we had collected that day.
The class after collecting on the Yaquina Bay mud flats. 

Cascade Head

                  By Friday, our good fortune with the weather had ran out.  Our hike up to Cascade Head to view coastal headlands and estuaries was a wet one.  The trail on the way up was very slick and muddy.  Upon arriving at the top of the trail, we quickly took a group photo, and clambered back down to the vans to escape the adverse weather.  Although it would have been better to have had more favorable weather, it was still an enjoyable hike.

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