Friday, May 22, 2015

PRETENDING TO BE REAL MARINE BIOLOGISTS…

This week has been all about PROJECTS! There are a total of 12 groups working on a variety of research topics. Some groups get to play in the field all day, while others are more studious in the lab. Group research topics have shown how diverse the 2015 class is when it comes to areas of interest. Some chose to work with algae, and others found their passion lying with invertebrates or fishes. Groups are even tackling the complexity of multiple species and how they interact with one another.

Natalie and Amanda playing in the mud!
Melanie, Amanda, and Natalie really committed to their project by getting down and dirty in the mud. Their week consisted of early mornings and lots of coffee in order to complete multiple beach seining collections. While out in the field, they collected data on salinity and biodiversity. Their focus is on determining the effects of salinity on biodiversity at several locations along the Oregon Coast. However, struggles have arisen and huge fluctuations in salinity have brought complications for the group. But with such dedication to their projects, they have been able to move forward and will be able to present to the public in just a few weeks.

First crab caught by Chaleen, Kylee, and Ashley,
while Chaleen is in the back looking for
the missing traps.
Speaking of projects not going as planning, one group really was off to a rough start at the beginning of the week. Chaleen, Kylee, and Ashley were looking at the abundance and size distribution of red rock crabs (Cancer productus) at popular crabbing locations compared to non-crabbing locations. However, the first few days proved to be discouraging because they had no luck catching any crabs and couldn’t  find some traps after putting them too far down the shoreline. Luck quickly turned around though after they switch the bait being used from cat food to chicken. So to all of you crabbers out there, take it form them and don’t use cat food! Finally they had caught a crab and were beyond stoked, even if it was just one! The week progressed and so did the amount of crabs they caught. Yay for more data!


Crabbing is a huge sport along the Oregon Coast that people partake in recreationally and commercially. It is so popular that regulations are set in place for determining what size, sex, and species of crab can be taken. However, this in not the case for red rock crabs because any sex or size can be taken. With such open availability to take these crabs, it is important to see if there is an effect on their size and abundance; especially right now in the spring when Dungeness crabs (Cancer magister) are less abundant. Red rock crabs may be significantly impacted if they are the ones being mostly caught at this time.


Cat and Kat working on their experiment on pipefish!
Cat (left) and Kat (right) worked on a lab experiment, in which they created an aquarium to test habitat preference of the estuarine pipefish, Syngnathous leptorhynchus. One side of the aquarium had eelgrass with one of two types of epiphytic algae, while the other side had eelgrass without epiphytes. They collected 42 pipefish while seining in Yaquina Bay to use in their experiment. It will be interesting to hear the results during week 10!

Levi being scientific and cutting open Pollicipes.








Levi is shown in the picture cutting open a Pollicipes polymerus to look for signs of reproduction. Levi and his group-mates, Max and Julia, also participated in cutting open these barnacles, as well as wrapping them in foil and sticking them in an oven to dry-mass them afterwards. Sounds brutal!



Landon's Release Chamber O' Fish!




Here is a picture of the lab experiment that I (Landon) did this week. In this aquarium, one side consists of only bare rocks, whereas the other side consists of various types of algae. I (Landon) collected fishes of various colors from the field and placed them one at a time in a fancy release chamber, which I (Landon) invented. The fish could swim out of the Release Chamber O’ Fish (patent pending) and decide which habitat to choose. This experiment was done to determine if there is a difference in habitat preference among fishes of different colors. In regards to the natural history aspect of this particular project, tidepool fishes have been shown to prefer tidepools with certain sets characteristics. Rugosity, depth, size, intertidal height, and algal composition of a tidepool are some of the characteristics that may influence the distribution of tidepool fishes. This experiment along with a field study will hopefully provide insight into differences of habitat preference among fishes of different colors.

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