Saturday, April 25, 2015

Farewell Fish and Hello Algae!

Natalie Coleman and Heidi Meyer

This week started out with our last field trip for the fish section. Su Sponaugle took us to Tokatee Klootchman Natural Wayside where we measured different parameters of tidepools looking at what factors may affected tidepool fish abundance.  We measured 38 tidepools total including length, width, depth, rugosity (measured with a chain run along the bottom) and the number of fish present.  David, Ari, and Landon discovered two cabezon sculpin (Scorpaenichthys marmoratus) (Family Cottidae) that had just recruited to the tidepools from an pelagic life stage and were undergoing metamorphosis. As Su explained, these fish had retained some features (silver sides and a more laterally compressed body) from the pelagic life stage and was just starting to adapt to the new tidepool surroundings by flattening out and changing color.
Amanda and Melanie on the way back up the
descent to Tokatee Klootchman

Amanda, Melanie, and Natalie searching for tidepools at Tokatee
 Klootchman Natural Wayside, Spring 2015

 Overall, our study didn’t show any significant relationship between our tidepool factors and fish abundance but we did notice that many of the fish seen were a lot smaller than the fish we observed last week at Boiler Bay, so it is possible there was a recent recruitment event where juvenile fish were coming back into the tidepools. This theory is consistent with a study we discussed before our field trip where they found that there was more recruitment but also more post-recruitment mortality at Tokatee than Boiler Bay (Webster et al. 2007).  We also went on a rainy early morning it is our informed scientific opinion that the fish were sleeping and may have been harder to find.
Natalie and Heidi catching fish in a tidepool at Tokatee

Amanda and Heidi measuring the depth of a tidepool
at Tokatee Klootchman
On Tuesday it was time to turn in all of our work for the fishes section and take the final, with a final goodbye to Su until our group research projects during week seven.  The fun with fishes continued that night while everyone was taking a much needed break before starting algae, with the conversation still returning to adipose fins and dorsal spines. Thank you Su for such an exciting and intensive crash course in fish of the Pacific Northwest.
A variety of algae in tidepools at Seal Rock

Seal Rock Beach April 2015

Our next section on marine algae started Wednesday afternoon with the very ecstatic and enthusiastic Annette Olson. We started off the section with a couple of lectures, including one from Chenchen Shen, a graduate student at OSU, and her research on coralline algae. Groups of two or three were then assigned a taxa where we have to find, collect, and identify specific species from that taxa, while keeping an eye out for our treasure taxa. Our treasure taxa are specific species that we will use to demonstrate to the class the ecology of our taxa.

Neorhodomela larix at Seal Rock

After getting into our groups, the whole class enjoyed a nice break with some tea before diving into our first algae lab. During the lab, we went around and tried to guess certain morphological features on given algae, which ended up teaching us that you can’t judge an algae by its color. Halfway through the lab, Miram poured hot water on five specimens from the three different phyla, and all but one “magically” changed color to green! The only one that stayed the same color was a green algae. We even learned how to press the algae!

Seal Rock, April 2015

Annette Olson explaining all of the types of
algae at Seal Rock

On Thursday, we woke up bright and early and ventured to Seal Rock for the first time this term. Annette showed us all around the beach, taking us to four different spots and helping us find and identify our taxa. Her helpful and essential husband, Charlie, followed the class around and took pictures of his wife while she lectured, he also made sure that she ate later in the day! Once we were back at Hatfield, we cleaned our collections and put them in the respective tanks. After lunch and lectures, we returned to the lab and Annette taught the class how to identify algae with a dichotomous key and how to cross section them.

Annette showing the class some algae at our first
stop at Seal Rock

Students walking to the next spot at Seal Rock

Originally we were supposed to go to Boiler Bay on Friday, but due to the high waves and rainy weather, we ended up switching our Monday and Friday schedule. So instead of spending more time at Boiler Bay, we enjoyed a nice and relaxing half day of lectures and labs. Hello early weekend!

Webster, M.S., J.D. Osborne-Gowey, T.H. Young, T.L. Freidenburg, B.A. Menge. 2007.
Persistent regional variation in populations of a tidepool fish. Journal of Experimental Marine
Biology and Ecology 346: 8-20.

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