Sunday, May 10, 2015

Algae, Mussels, and Barnacles.. OH MY!

Ashley and Julia collecting transect data
On Thursday, With more manageable wave heights, and a more exposed low zone, we left for Boiler Bay. The team started the morning collecting community data through the use of transect-quadrats, in the low exposed zone of a shelf previously too dangerous to sample.

Once the quadrat sampling was complete, we shifted our focus studying sea star recruit populations through belt transects. Huddled close to the ground, and being beaten by waves, we counted Pisaster and Leptasterias recruits to gain knowledge on the changing population structure as a result of sea star wasting disease.
Heidi and Rachael collecting transect data

In the evening, our dynamite TA organized a "trivia night". Armed with faded knowledge and dessert bowls, we where presented with too few blueberries, and  obscure trivia questions. After a surprise visit from Dr. Olson, armed with a few tubs of ice cream she carried with her, trivia was underway! Each team competed with true veracity.  Two teams rose above the pack with answer after answer. Toward the end it seemed like team Gryffindor would obtain the Golden snitch.  To our surprise, team Celery came from behind in the bonus round and were be deemed victorious.  They were rewarded with squishy animal key chains. Congrats team Celery.

"Trivia night" hosted by our dynamite TA
The week concluded with teams splitting between Yachats beach and Tokatee Klootchman.  Both groups would be completing our survey of the effects of sea star wasting disease on populations of Pisaster and Leptasterias.  This was the first time we have visited Yachats and we were able to enjoy the great diversity it offered.

Large Semibalanus cariosus found at Yachats Beach 
Peltodoris nobilis feeding on Halichondria panicea

Our survey group took a moment to admire a large Semibalanus cariosus and several Peltodoris nobilis feeding on a Halichondria panicea.

Yachats beach had a much larger population of Pisaster than Boiler Bay.  The condition of these sea stars varied but we were pleased to see many recruits and uninfected juveniles.  The day concluded by cleaning data sheets that had been collected throughout the week.  We all looked forward to a great weekend of rest and relaxation!

Pisaster with a missing limb

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