Sunday, May 15, 2016

We started Monday with the fiery glow of data tabulations and analyses in our eyes. After the fire burnt out we enjoyed a special guest lecture by Sarah Gravem, Bruce's semi-new but super awesome post-doc. Her lecture detailed the interactions between two predatory sea stars, Leptasterias hexactis and Pisaster ochraceus, interacting with Tegula funebralis (black turban snail).

Following Sarah's presentation Bruce gave an insightful lecture on diversity and stability in marine communities. During which, we learned about Bruce's "buns model," a combination of two intermediate hypothesis, disturbance and predation. This model shows the general trend that when disturbance is low predation is important in determining community structure. When disturbance is high it determines the structure. After this final community ecology lecture we rekindled the flames of data analysis till the nudibranchs came home.

On Tuesday, energy was at an all time low, every group was working diligently on their presentations and data reports for the entire day. Exciting!

Wednesday began with putting the finishing touches on our presentations. The first group, mid-high community structure examined upwelling along the coast combined with bathymetry may have led to bottom-up controls effecting the primary cover of sessile organisms at Strawberry Hill and Boiler Bay. The second group, low zone community structure looked at the richness and distribution between exposed and protected areas of the two sites. The next group focused on sea star wasting disease (SSWD). They concentrated on symptoms of SSWD and how SSWD has affected this years cohort, including the abundant recruits. Last but not least, group four fixated on the size of feeding whelks and compared the proportion of whelks feeding between zones (low, mid, high). 

After a refreshing two hours of sleep we were ready to continue our cramming sessions for our 2pm exam. Did we emerge victorious? I'll let you decide from this picture.

Our TA Chenchen Shen and the "infamous" Bruce Menge.
Following our relaxing 12 hour break between Community Ecology and the beginning of Marine Conservation and Policies on Friday, we enjoyed delving into Sarah Henkel's world. At first, Sarah's world seemed like a place where the oceans will never recover and hell has frozen over. We learned progress has been made towards protecting the oceans that provide so many ecosystem services to humanity. There's even been some really cool work done in Oregon to protect a 0.5 km squared speck of ocean near Otter Rock. At the end of lecture we paired up and took on conservation topics we were interested in.

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