|Measuring algae in a quadrat along a|
|A group discussing their field study.|
|One of our finished algae pressings.|
Wednesday morning saw our last two algae lectures, first marine angiosperms, land plants that have completely adapted to life in the water. Next up was algae and the food system, focusing on kelp. The importance of kelp forests has been discussed throughout the section, as they provide important ecosystem services including providing shelter for juvenile fish, and habitat and nutrients for many organisms. Because kelp is so cool and important, we wanted to share some of the ways humans use kelp. According to NOAA, we collect between 100,000 and 170,000 wet tons of kelp each year from California alone1. That’s a lot of kelp! We use kelp in products ranging from toothpaste and shampoo to various food products. Kelp pudding, anyone?
|Porphyra sp. belongs to the phylum|
Rhodophyta and is used to make nori.
That evening, we reconvened in the lab for team demonstrations. The event kicked off with several snacks made with algae, as well as some non-algae cookies. Then we rotated around the room, learning from other teams as well as sharing our algae knowledge and the results of our field studies.
Thursday was spent reviewing for the final. We began the morning with a review of the lectures, followed up with a review of all the species we had in lab. The rest of the day was independent study. Unfortunately, we couldn’t enjoy the sun during our study breaks, as the fog remained the entire day and a thunderstorm rolled through.
Friday brought the close of the algae section. We spent the morning studying, then ventured over to the classroom to take our final (the third one of the term!). A break between finals was profitably used to watch Mulan. The plan was to finish the movie before the lab practical, but since time flies when you’re having fun, we had to head back to the lab before the end of the movie. After completing the lab practical, we completed the quickest (and most water spilled) clean up yet. Then we were free for the weekend!
This end of this week marked the term’s halfway point. Time is flying by and somehow we’re now five weeks down, five to go.
1 NOAA. 2014. How do people use kelp? online. National Ocean Service: NOAA. http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/pplkelp.html. Viewed 8 May 2017.