Sunday, April 9, 2017

Welcome to HMSC BI 450!

Today marks week one of our time here at Hatfield for BI 450, it has been very busy but extremely fun. 9 am Monday morning we all migrated the 500 feet from our apartments to the classroom for a tour of the campus and introduction to the staff. We later learned about the landscape of the Oregon coast and why marine biology is important (even though Sally was preaching to the choir).

Students collecting invertebrates at Boiler Bay. On the right is a
boiler from an old ship that crashed here 107 years ago, hence
the name: Boiler Bay. 
Tuesday was more eventful, we began learning marine invertebrate phylums, starting with Porifera -the sponges. We then went out for our first day of fieldwork to Boiler Bay. The tide pools were amazing and rich with biodiversity. Everyone clomped around in their raingear with little cups and sketchily rust scrappers collecting animals. This trip had probably the highest turnover rate of all our trips this week, collecting organisms from crabs to snails to nudibranchs to urchins to chitons and so much more.

Wednesday we learned about anemones, corals and jellies of the phylum Cnidaria then were inaugurated into the HMSC wide tradition of coffee and donut break. Of course free donuts were great, but it was also nice to talk to staff at Hatfield that we otherwise wouldn’t interact with. We learned about their research and helpful hints about the town -such as where to find agates, chanterelles and good hikes. After some lab work and lunch we drove out to Tokatee Klootchman for more fieldwork. This intertidal was harder to find organisms in -especially since we had already collected so many the previous day- but we were able to expand our inventory, including many Aeolidia papillosa and a Hermissenda crassicornis!
Right: Anthopleura xanthogrammica
Left: Chrytochiton stelleri
Thursday was probably the most exciting day of the week. We started the morning off with some awesome worm lectures and then headed off to the mudflats to collect more invertebrates. Before leaving, Sally surprised everyone with some chocolate cake for Miranda’s twenty-first and Sammy’s twenty-second birthdays (thanks Sally!). The mudflats were a blast. The mud was extremely hard to walk through because it was so soft and deep. Almost everyone took a fall or two! The most adventurous of us managed to get all the way to the water’s edge where we were waist deep in mud and had to resort to crawling on our hands and knees to keep from sinking. Despite the challenge, we found tons of worms, crabs, and shrimp that we took back to the lab, along with lots of mud!
Alanna digging for worms!
Friday went a little differently than we had planned. We were supposed to go on a fun hike up to Cascade Head, but the strong winds and heavy rain forced us to change our schedule around. Instead, we had some interesting lectures on Molluscs and Lophophorates, and then lots of lab time to finish up the three notebook entries that were due at the end of the day.
Saturday was Marine Science Day at Hatfield. The education building was packed with booths and exhibits showing off scientists’ research and educating the public about the wonders of the ocean. We took turns telling guests about all of the invertebrates that we had collected in the field this week, which turned out to be a pretty handy study tool for our final next Friday! It was really fun to see everyone so excited about marine biology. David also turned twenty one and got to share his day with Marine Science Day!

While walking on the beach this weekend we found hundreds of stranded Velella velellas due to the high winds on Friday. This was especially interesting because we had just learned about this species in lecture on Wednesday. These jellies have clear ‘sails’ that project out of the water and catch winds to locomote. 50% of the population is born with sails twisted to the right and the other 50% has sails twisted to the left. This means that large winds will separate the population in half to opposite sides of the Pacific ocean.

1 comment:

Elita Barson said...

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