Friday, June 7, 2019

Week 10: The Final Countdown

Monday (6/3) - Tuesday (6/4)

Well, we made it. Week 10 already! Monday morning, the library was filled with groups riding a caffeine buzz and working on data analysis, final papers, and presentations. Our helpful TAs Vanessa Constant and Zechariah Meunier were around to help with any stats questions. Tuesday looked similar to Monday; the library was filled with coffee-fueled students working on the first draft of the project paper that was due the following morning. However, throughout the day there were ways to destress. Some took a break to discuss summer plans. Or, since the sun was out, some decided to take a walk on the nature trail on the edge of campus. The trail goes along the Yaquina Bay estuary and is a great place to observe ecological processes in action. For many students, Tuesday night was a late night as we finished up our rough drafts to send off for review.

Joe, Karlee, and Hailey analyzing data for their project. 

Sarah, Allison, and Renee hard at work.

Cori, Eric, and Charlie discuss statistics and figures with TA Vanessa.

BI 450 students (and TAs) in their natural habitat.

Megan K. and Taylor enjoying a walk on the estuary trail after a long day of work. This nearby trail has definitely served as a stress-reliever for many students throughout the term. Even though you’re still very close to campus, it feels like you’re far away and surrounded by nature. 

Wednesday (6/5) - Thursday (6/6)

In addition to getting back reviews of our papers, this was also the time when we were starting to work on and finalize our presentations. To help us practice, our TA Vanessa opened up the auditorium in the Hatfield visitor center for us to try out our slides on the big screen. It also gave us a chance to test our voices and make sure everyone could hear us in the auditorium. We acted as audiences for each other and gave tips and constructive criticisms. For some of us, it helped to ease our worries about presenting to the public on Friday. But for others, it just made us more nervous, or maybe it was excitement?
Bri, Emily M, and Charlotte prepare to practice their presentation on intertidal Nudibranchs.

Karlee, Haley, and Joseph discuss points to go over in their presentation on the abundance of crabs in eelgrass beds.

Elise, Megan C, and Emily V do a runthrough of their presentation. They used glitter to test the retention of microplastics in mussels. 

Over the term, our class has had 3 potlucks in the dining hall. Our last one was Thursday night and included an awards ceremony as well! The awards listed accomplishments such as “Most Likely to Live in the Intertidal”, “The Human Intertidal ID Guide”, “Fastest Person up Boiler Bay”, “Most Inappropriate Nudibranch Joke”, and many others.

A final gathering.
Megan K. presents the awards.

Friday (6/7)

The time had finally come for us to show the fruits of our labor. Friends and family came to watch us present the results of our projects. All of the presentations went well without any major hitches (although sometimes the presentations wouldn't cooperate with the presenters, but at this point we had come to expect this as a feature). Many questions were asked, many answers were given. At long last, Dr. Henkel said the words we all had been longing to hear: “You’re free!”
Sarah H, Stephanie, and Laura present the results of their findings on benthic diatoms.

Hannah, Megan K., and Taylor explain the interactions of crabs and whelks that inspired their study.

Kendal, Jasper, and Kieryian describe the interactions that they observed between Dungeness crabs and invasive European green crabs.

As this term comes to an end, I think we can all agree that despite being stressful at times, BI 450 was a very fun and adventurous course. Where else is spending time at the beach considered homework? Despite the occasional before-dawn field trip, everyone powered on through with smiling faces. From going out on the RV Elakha and beam trawling for English sole to scaling up and down Boiler Bay to sinking down to our waists in the mudflats, it was definitely a term to remember! We all gained new knowledge and skills we couldn't have gotten anywhere else. And on top of that, we have learned from so many working scientists about the journeys they went on to get where they are today. Now our own journeys can begin. Who knows what the future has in store for us?


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