Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hannah Lyons - Week 5

This week at Hatfield Marine Science center we had visitors! Our co-interns, that are stationed in Charleston, came up to check out our campus and projects. After a tour around the grounds we took them to the South Beach Annex of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife where we do our video scoring and data entry. We showed off the gear ODFW uses out in the ocean to collect data like the Lander, CTD, the Sled and the Remotely Operated Vehicle. After lunch we all went to see some of the natural sights Central Oregon has to offer. Devil's Punchbowl was a big hit and at low tide we were able to hike down inside of it and look at some tide pools. It was great to meet the other interns and take a break to appreciate the sights.
Devil's Punchbowl
 In the down time from work I went to Yaquina Head for an early morning hike. The lighthouse was beautiful in the golden light. I watched harbor seals lounging on the rocks below and saw a few grey whales very close. While watching the Common Murres nesting on the rocks just off the mainland an adolescent bald eagle came swooping in! He/she didn't catch anything but sat and caused quit a ruckus among the murres.
Murres nesting on rock outcrop


Morning at Yaquina Head Lighthouse


Whale spout at Yaquina Head
At ODFW this week I wrapped up all the video scoring for the Lander 2012 drops and began to input all that data to be analyzed!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bridget Begay - Week 5: More "Butter" for the "Soul"

Hello everyone,

    So this week began with a couple of days in the NOAA Lab. From the July 11th R/V Elakha cruise, I assisted with classifying fish specimens, including the measurement (mm SL) and weight (g) of each organism. The sample was extracted at 8:21 a.m. at MB 30 station with a depth of 31.8 meters. The species found in the sample were Pacific staghorn sculpin (Leptocottus armatus), butter sole (Isopsetta isolepsis), dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister), English sole (Parophrys vetulus), Speckled sanddab (Citharichthys stigmaeus), Pacific tomcod (Microgadus proximus) and snailfish(Liparidae spp.). With this sample, the Butter sole dominated more than half of the sample's count. Besides sorting through the 350+ fish specimen sample, I learned how to differentiate between Butter sole and English sole transitional larvae by observing the blind side. Flatfishes consist of two sides: an eyed side and a blind side. To know the difference between the two species, the Butter sole will have black speckled bands that cross the lateral line, but, the English sole will have black speckled bands that don't cross the lateral line completely. When the bands become less visible and when they grow bigger, we concentrate on the lateral line on the eyed side. The Butter sole will have an arched, longer lateral line that extends into a accessory branch above the gills and towards the dorsal fin. On the other hand, the English sole will have a lateral line that is less curved, shorter above the gills and doesn't extend towards the dorsal fin. 
     
     Another highlight of this week was a visit from COSEE PRIME interns from the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB) Exchange Day. It was great talking to Coral, Peter, Leyia and Jezzi, especially knowing what kind of project they are involved in. Throughout the day, we toured Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife - South Beach Annex Offices and taking a trip to Otter Rock. We all ended the day with a BBQ at Itchung's house, which by the way has such an amazing view of the waterfront and is also occupied by a cute cat named, Jackson. I look forward to visiting all of them at OIMB and checking out the campus!

     This weekend I assisted the wonderful, Cindy at two locations: Otter Rock and Cape Perpetua. On those two trips, it's refreshing to see the landscape change along the Oregon coast and meeting new people all the time. Cindy and I met a nice volunteer, Elton, at Devil's Churn in Cape Perpetua. He was very friendly and informative about this location, so definitely look for him if you visit anytime soon!

The view of Cook's Chasm at Cape Perpetua. 

      That's all for now and thank you for reading! :)

Bridget B. 


   

Matthew Mischke - Week 3: Ocean Travels and Eels

Hey everyone, 

Week 3 was busy and exciting! Most notable about the week was my first trip out on the ocean and simultaneously my first chance to do data collection and field work this summer. Bridget and I along with Matt Yergey, Lorenzo Ciannelli and Gonzalo all went out on the R/V Elakha equipped with a small beam trawl. A beam trawl is a kind of fishing rig in this case with two wheeled sleds for tracking distance, a thick metal beam connecting them and a fine mesh net trailing behind forming a cone-like shape on the ocean floor pulled along by nylon cord hauled by medium sized winch. The net was dragged through the benthic zone in order to sample the marine flatfish community. We cruised along the NH Line (Newport Hydrographic Line), which runs roughly perpendicular to the coastline going strait out from the jetties off of Yaquina Bay. At each of the six stations (NH 3, 5, 10, 15 and MB 30 and 40 where NH #'s represent distance from the coast in nautical miles and MB #'s represent depth in meters) a CTD was deployed to measure conductivity (salinity), temperature, dissolved oxygen and turbidity and was left overboard for a few minutes. After the CTD was reeled in and measurements were recorded, the beam trawl would go into the water, drag on the floor for 10 min or so then it would be reeled in. When the net was pulled up, the contents were emptied into standard size coolers and dumped in manageable quantities onto a sorting table with a drain leading off the bough for excess liquid. While out on the rocky boat we sorted fish into general size categories in gallon-sized freezer bags for ID and measuring/weighing later in the lab while trying not to lose too many sloshing over the side. Any especially large organisms were measured, noted, and released quickly to give them a chance at survival. All crustaceans, cnidarians and echinoderms were roughly counted on the spot, noted, and tossed overboard as well.

Besides just sampling the community through capture, the beam trawl was also equipped with an HD in situ camera mounted to the center of the beam pointed towards the net with two mounted lasers 10 cm apart in the center of the camera shot. This camera was linked to a live feed in the house of the vessel and was recorded for further review at a later date as well. The camera provided data on the behavior of flatfish and other benthic organisms as they were disturbed by the ticker chain and capture in the net. The lasers were set at 10 cm for relatively accurate measurements while reviewing footage later and a general sense of scale of the organisms caught on film.

The voyage itself was fun at first but I found out that day that I get sea-sick. After the first couple hours, the nonstop rocking and wind lost their charm and sorting through large quantities of jellies that kept sloshing around didn't exactly help settle the stomach. I ended up laying down and sleeping through most of the voyage, but it was still fun to assist with and see the data collection first hand. I did miss the reception of the OSU glider though, which was little dissapointing. These gliders measure many of the same parameters as a CTD but are unmanned water craft that bob up and down from the surface to deep waters while moving back and forth perpendicular to the coast for months at a time. On the way in we caught one of the gliders to be brought in for cleaning, fresh batteries and for downloading the data.

In addition to the exciting ocean travels week 3, there was also a great seminar on Thursday led by Laurie Weitkamp, talking about Pacific Lamprey. Her presentation was interesting and informative and personally important to me as I spent several weeks this last year learning about the Confederated Siletz Tribe as well as other major tribes in the area as part of a NW history class and I am very aware of the importance of "eels" to the Native Americans of this region. I was honestly very surprised to know that the lamprey populations were doing so poorly and are so understudied, but it was good to hear what work is being done and be made aware.

Overall it was a great week and I look forward to several more at HMSC this summer. Thanks for reading and have a great day!


Matthew M.

Reporting to you here, live from the post (week 5) - By: Cindyjo Keomani Boungnavath

Keith from the South Beach Annex
(don't mess with him, he comes equipped)
Szia, everyone!

WATCH OUT, KEITH WILL GET YA!
...or not, he's not very scary

This week's latest UPDATE! Thanks for tuning in once again into my weekly thoughts- It was a fun and successful week as we had an Exchange Day where the other COSEE interns that work at OIMB (Oregon Institute of Marine Biology) came to visit us here at Hatfield, HMSC, visited a friend's tuna boat that he captains, stopped at Cook's Chasm (home to Thor's Well) and got my first piece of mail from back home!

Firstly, with the Exchange Day, it was quite eventful as we finally met the three other interns: Peter, Jezzi, and Leyia that'd we've only heard about but not yet interacted with. It was a great time meeting and greeting one another as we toured the campus here at HMSC, talked about our interests and work in the lab/field over delicious Thai Food, acquainted the team of COSEE interns and some of the directors of the program what I did for field work at Otter Rock, one of the designated areas for a Marine Reserve, and lastly ended with a splendid meal of hotdogs, burgers, and chips at the home of Ithung Cheung (which by the way overlooks Agate Beach and captures all its beauty, with of course, the comfort of a "burgerdog" (half burger half hotdog between two open slices of hotdog buns with ALL the fixings) in my hands. It was a glorious sight with the accompanying smell of grilled meats.

SB Annex



Don't be surprised to what you find...you were warned




under-water camera used on dives
































On the road

CAUTION: Driver possesses too much happy-
is dangerous to a passenger with her rockin' lip syncing/singing
Watch out, here we come (on our way to Otter Rock)
Beach adventures


finger "points" (again, purposeful pun) out carving in cave


A couple days after that, I met a tuna fisherman that had just docked the New(port)² (wink, nudge, and a smile in hopes of joke being understood, eh.....eh?) from one of his trips where he spent nine days out fishing. We chatted about work and realized how both intermingle and work cooperatively as a system. I later asked if he could let me see what the boat looked and ran like. He agreed. I asked a few of my friends to come along so they could experience it as well, and man was it just like we imagined. It was a rough and tough kind of boat, but it was fun to see him go through each one of his navigational devices, maps, gps, defroster, anchor, etc. and he disclosed some of his sweet catch spots that he hits when on his trips. It was a blast to meet a captain of a tuna boat and in the near future hope to help with ones' trips!

Tuna boat

tuna boat out and about
after over a week out fishing, the boat can now rest
steadily at the dock
That Saturday, I also had to do some field-work at Cape Perpetua, and all those times that I've driven up and down HWY 101, I've only thought about stopping at Thor's Well, however that never really manifested until 7/26. It's amazing how many hidden beauties exist at the bottom of your nose, those that you never really take the time to acknowledge and appreciate. It was spectacular and couldn't believe that that was what I was passing up just because of how I allowed time to dictate my next move. I've learned since then...I hope.

Thor's Well


snapshot of Thor's Well, seen at Cape Perpetua, OR
And lastly, however still exciting- I received my first piece of mail from a loved one! I got a letter with some sweet words, lovely attempted drawings, a very much needed Minion watch, and pictures.

my kind of night-cap to end a day
As this next week approaches and as I fall into each day, I look forward to our, the interns here at HMSC, trip to OIMB to see life through their eyes there. I, also, secretly am excited to experience the cafeteria-style breakfast, lunch, and dinner there at OIMB. We, here at HMSC, have to prepare our own meals and wipe our areas clean (no complaints here, just description) whereas at OIMB they are provided meals...an aspect of which I haven't decided if ours is a curse of blessing, but nonetheless a great time! But hey, that's just a secret jubilation I have (insert giddiness).

Mahalo~

Week 5 PRIME Experience; Crazy Fun For Everyone



 Week 5 was a crazy jumble of fun, like last week I am, going to describe my events in a backwards sequence.


Monday (7/26) I went out in the field with Cindi for the first time, and learned an abundant amount of information about surveying beach-goers. First of all, we made a great and productive team; secondly we collected at least 45 data sheets (the average is 30 per trip). We surveyed 6 different places in Lincoln City (Cascade Head Marine Reserve/Marine Protected Areas) twice during the day.  

It felt amazing hearing peoples stories, and opinions about marine reserves. For me, learning about their life paths was just as interesting as the scientific data we were collecting; a majority of the people I met had undergraduate degrees and were very successful! 
Cindy and I collected TWENTY surveys at one of our locations!

My first time actively in the field as an intern, proudly sporting Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife gear!



Last Thursday (7/24) we had an exchange day with the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB). All of the COSEE interns went on a tour and visit together, creating new bonds. We grew closer over Thai food at Lucky Thai Elephant, and opened our eyes at Devils Churn in Otter Rock. We had fun respectfully exploring the northern Marine Protected Area, and even getting a little wet! I think our appreciation for Oregon’s nature only grew stronger. (Devils churn is on the left.)
Those were the most exciting details of my week! I also got the chance to play with a CTD, well scrape almost every barnacle off one! This reminded my of child's play, and nearly made my day! After the machine is clean, someone is going to hook it up to the computer and collect the data the machine collected from the ocean floor from the last several months (I'm not sure about details).
Time to scrape some barnacles!




Monday, July 28, 2014

Bridget Begay - Week 4: Quality Control on Data and Otter Crest with Cindy

Hello everyone!

This week, I have been conducting Quality Control (QC) from all of the data on the FIOS database online because all of the late 1970's data has been entered from paper form to digital form. The QC methods is used to check the quality of the beam trawl data and reorganizing any clutter on the database, so analysis can be conducted later on with fewer errors. The first method was to randomly check any and all beam trawl data sheet in each binder and in total, Matt and I checked 119 data sheets. An example of an error may be the input of the wrong fish species, or the wrong measurement recorded. Another method we used was checking low to high measurements by each fish species, meaning that we check the beam trawl sheet if the fish was measured to be 8 mm SL (Standard Length) or 450 mm SL. To clarify, SL means Standard Length, which is the measurement of the fish from the head along the body to the start of the caudal fin. The last method to be conducted was to map the latitude and longitude along the Oregon coast. It's a lot of work to get done but Matt and I were able to accomplish Quality Control this week. Next week, I'm going to spend time in the lab to go through fish samples to sort by species, measure (mm SL) and weight (g).


The binders with late 1970's small-mesh beam
 trawl surveys along the Central Oregon coast. 

            


Here are two examples of the small-mesh beam trawl data sheets (SBMT).



At the end of the week, I assisted Cindy on a surveying trip to Otter Crest, also known as Devil's Punch Bowl State Park. As describe from Week 2 blog post, I helped Cindy survey people who attended the beach on Saturday. As with Cascade Head, this was the first time I visited this state park and it's a very beautiful place to visit. Along with surveying people, Cindy and I noticed a boat within the Marine Reserve, which was seen to be fishing. Cindy called the Oregon State Police - Fish & Wildlife Department to notified and send a senior trooper to the state park. The senior trooper was able to identify the boat and establish that they were fishing and crabbing and recording the whole incident. Just north of the fishing boat, there were four boats closely following a whale for more than an hour. As indicated by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act , that the public cannot disrupt a marine mammals natural behavior, especially a whale and following regulations when a whale is in sight. If you want to whale watch in the future, it's probably best to view from the shore with a pair of binoculars. Events like these contribute how the public follows the Marine Reserves policy. 

A small boat within the Otter Crest Marine Reserve Area, as indicated
 by the circled buoys.

Four boats following and watching a whale traveling along the coast.   

This reminds me when I was working at University of Washington in the summer for a Oceanography internship. I assisted a grad student to collect zooplankton samples West of the the Ballard Locks, in the Puget Sound. When were collecting samples, we hard a loud, rushing noise and looked around. We then noticed a whale traveling South of us and heading North, so we had to turn off the boat and wait awhile for the whale to past us. About 10 minutes later, we heard another whale spouting noise. It was amazing to see them because I've heard it's rare to see them traveling in the Puget Sound. I found this NOAA website that gives guidelines if you would like to whale watch, here is the link. That's all for now and thank you again for reading!

Bridget B.   

Bridget Begay - Week 3: R/V Elakha Cruise Day Trip along the NH Line

Hello Everyone!

This week was quite exciting, especially my projects summer cruise that happened this past Friday. The OSU research vessel that we aboarded was the R/V Elakha on Friday and the crew cruised along the Oregon coast, specially the Newport Line. 


 The Newport Hydrographic Line located on along the Oregon coast.
Source: http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/research/divisions/fe/
estuarine/oeip/ka-hydrography-zoo-ichthyoplankton.cfm

We visited the following stations on the cruise: NH 3,5,10,15 and MB 30, 40. I looked forward to this trip because it was the first time I would be out on the Pacific Ocean along the Oregon coast and get to see live fish samples. To collect data at each station, the CTD was deployed, which measures the Conductivity (or Salinity), Temperature and Depth of the seawater, then the beam trawl net was sent overboard to drag across the sea floor at 1 knot for 10 minutes or more. The beam trawl nets was equipped with an HD camera, tickler chain, laser ruler and measuring wheels. The tickler chain agitates the soft-sediment sea floor to disturb the hidden flatfishes and allows the organisms to be caught by the mesh net. The reason for the laser ruler and HD camera is to conduct in-situ observations, this is to measure any fish that didn't get caught and to observe the activity of the sea floor organisms. Also, the measuring wheels on both sides of the beam trawl measure how far the net has traveled (meters) along the sea floor. 


Leaving early from Yaquina Bay and Matt preparing the beam trawl. 


Myself, Matt and Gonzalo awaiting the first station. 


Bobby Ireland, ODFW, getting ready to aboard the Glider.


One of the several organisms caught in the beam trawl. 


The OSU Glider is in sight and ready to be picked up!


A hag fish was caught at one of the last stations visited. 
All pictures from the cruise are credited to Dr. Lorenzo Ciannelli, College of Earth and Atmospherics Sciences at OSU. 

From the net samples, I recognized flatfishes/fishes, sea stars, sand dollars, sea pens, octopus, mussels, krill, jellyfish and crabs. What I learned over the cruise is visually seeing the distribution and abundance of different organisms among the benthic zone because there is so much more outside a classroom and actually engage in the environment. One of last things to be conducted on the trip was to pick up the OSU Glider, a Glider group representative aboard  R/V Elakha was Gonzalo. The main purpose of the glider is to record ocean data including temperature, salinity, chlorophyll, light levels, dissolved oxygen and water velocity. 


The research seminar this week was presented by Laurie Weitkamp, a Research Fisheries Biologist, NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Her presentation was about how important the Pacific Lamprey ecological but also culturally important to the Oregon's Native American tribes because of their population has decreased significantly within these last several decades. This research is definitely an example on how I would like to engage in Pacific Northwest tribal fishery issues. That's all for now and thank you for reading! 

Bridget B.


Reporting to you here, live from the post (week 4) - By: Cindyjo Keomani Boungnavath

Sabaidee everyone!

white-crowned sparrow? in walking stance
This week has been filled with a variety of activities including: walking through the visitor's center of Hatfield, running into a large group from Texas called Geoforce TX, saw the most windsurfers in one single moment of my entire life, caught a fisherman in the marine reserve (with the intervention of OSP), and also the office's (ODF&W) first BBQ together (the reason being to celebrate good weather!) 

bulb kelp washed ashore on Otter Crest
a beautiful composition of log wood on the beach of Washburne State Park
During my time at the visitor's center where my roommate and friend, Bridget, accompanied me, we quickly first went to the tidepool section where we tried identifying the species there. We then met a lovely gentleman by the name of Harry, whom was a volunteer there (and has been so for the past 9 years). We immediately became acquainted and started discussing my work with ODF&W. The discussion later then became one about the sea star wasting syndrome, both what initiated it and also its effects regarding the marine environment it plays a part of. After our time with Harry, we navigated through the rest of the exhibits offered and started talking about the role and differences between phytoplankton and zooplankton. It was a fun experience to talk about the producers of aquatic ecosystems and betting each other that the other knew the three types of zooplankton (foraminifers, copepods, and radiolarians), a bet in which I'd like to say I won. 

stone house on cliff at the Cape Perpetua Look-out 
As for the Geoforce TX group I ran into, I met the writer, Jay, of one of the guide books about Cape Perpetua there. He was one of the guides for the educational tour where the organization takes approximately 50 under-privileged Juniors in high school to various areas around the country that are highly valued in the nature realm. We talked quite a bit about the processes and creation of the different geological features of beaches (sea stacks, arches, shoreline formation, etc.) and also the backgrounds of each person. I always find it so fascinating just how easily it is to talk to people and enter into a conversation about whatever comes up. Each being possesses a loci in which we can ponder the infinite and I think it rad to be such a pertinent part in interacting with such complex individuals. 

wind-surfers at Road's End State Park in Lincoln City
Moving onto the wind surfers...what can I say except that it was an awesome sight to view with the variety of colors each surfer's kite was. It was spectacular to not only spectate but also think about the dynamics and forces in which allow such activity to work. I began to think about the factor that the ocean plays, the direction in which it travels, the distance from the shore each person was from, their posture, the different muscles that had to be engaged to be just barely efficient enough to withstand even a second on a board in the water with the unpredictability of the wind as your driver out there in the open. The courage, strength, and guts it must take! This one is definitely going on my list of things to do!

And for one of my field-days on the beach, I was at Otter Rock, again, when I spotted yet another fisherman in the reserve. In the single hour, there were close to eight boats within "iffy" distance of the marine reserve boundary. This day was also a phenomenal one for whale-watching, you could let your eyes wander out there over the ocean and before 8 seconds could pass, you'd be able to see blowholes spouting out water. There were nearly five boats floating too close for comfort near the whale, to which I began questioning its legality. It seemed as though they were no more than five feet away from the looks of my binocular-vision. Moreover, when I spotted a private vessel clearly within the reserve, I quickly took out my camera to document its proximity and distance from the buoys that marked the line. I was able to distinctly observe a fishing pole and the tug of the fisherman's arm on the line gave me enough evidence to make the call to dispatch. I gave the description of the boat, my location, and name, and without further questioning, I was sent an officer. He came, we talked, and a call was made. It was quite the day after all that was done.

**Note: if you'd like to see a picture of the boats within the reserve, check out Bridget's post (whom was of great help that day)

And lastly - the office BBQ was a hit! It was a last-minute toss up of ideas of what to bring and who was coming. In the end, we all had a great time, all feasting on a smorgasbord of candied salmon, grilled zucchini, lemon-curry chicken, hawaiian bread, an apricot-almond-feta cheese-garden salad, guac-salsa-and-bean-trio, arnold-palmer mix, potato salad, macaroni salad, and homemade brownies. It was a fun time to get out and about with the company of great coworkers and a lovely spread of food. It was a good week. 

Mahalo ~

Reporting to you here, live from the post (week 3) - By: Cindyjo Keomani Boungnavath

Talofa, to my friend Nikki

Well this week was a farewell to a very good friend (and new member to my ohana) I made here at Hatfield, Nikki. She had finished the program she was working on and is on her way heading back for Virginia. Her initiative was to track efficiency through lower trophic levels utilizing the storage capabilities of copepods (small crustacean group). She studied copepods and the phytoplankton they prey on to discern if there are specific species of phytoplankton they eat to create their energy stores. In the larger picture, her team sought to find which lipids play a more significant role in enhanced foraged fish survival and growth. It was a bittersweet week as we spent time together doing karaoke, eating out a bunch, singing in each others' apartments, and lots of recounting of memories created in such little time. It was a realization of how time seems so irrelevant in the bigger scheme.

But switching to more academic/work-based events, the Human Dimensions team came up with a method to input data with little error with the database we're using for data analysis. We devised a skip-fill rule and are playing with the numbers to accommodate the changes made. We are still messing with a range-rule tactic as well, but nothing to note, yet. Field-work has been going great as well! Now that I have been and will continue to data-collect alone, it definitely puts a skip in my step when I know that I am the only driver and motivator to do the work. It feels good to know that what I do is on my own accord, and that I will work with the data directly later when analyzing it. It was also my first time into the office's "cave" where Steve scores a lot of the video taken from ROV (remotely operated vehicle) missions etc. I learned the identification of a lot of sea invertebrates in my time there as well. Moreover, my next door neighbor, James, whom is taking classes here at the Science Center, was studying for his marine bio class and I spent time with him reviewing the distinguishing features of cetaceans (genus of whales) and pinnipeds (genus of seals, sea lions, and walruses). It is quite the rewarding experience being surrounded by people with various interests and backgrounds that it begins to rub off and you find yourself in the most unexpected predicaments to harness that knowledge and even spread it. That's one of the coolest experiences that I'd say I've come to realize with my time here. The stories people have to share and their knowledge - these are a few among many tangent-taken-topics in countless conversations I've had with my friends here; nitrogen fixation, hypoxia, ocean acidification, leidenfrost effect, bird-call identifying, cohesion-tension theory, and so much more. 



I will continue to be all ears, eyes, and attention to the people and living bodies around me because you never really know how much you don't know until you know when you've learned. 


couple relaxing by the beach, very sweet peope!

photo op: mom pulling daughter on sled, and dog pulling child by leash


with that color contrast, a picture was no longer optional

my first-sighting of a "by-the-wind-sailor jellyfish"

Matthew Mischke - Week 2: Safety Training and Desk Work

Hello all,

My second week out here at HMSC was great! I made some headway on the data entry during the week, went to a really interesting brown bag lunch discussion about research ethics, had lab safety training, sea safety training and went to a cool seminar lead by Luisa Massarani. And at the end of my busy week I was able to head home for the 4th of July and spend a little time with my family and see a couple of friends.
Lab safety training on Monday was mostly common sense and review but I learned a few of the new symbols for hazardous materials and had my first encounter with Safety Data Sheets (SDS). It was good to know they are around in the labs and maybe better to know they can't always be trusted in urgent situations. Quick reference sheets for potentially harmful chemicals are nice to have around, but I was glad to learn now that they're not the most reliable source of info, since they're rarely made by experts. It was also good to learn about the difference in air flow in chem hoods and bio cabinets: namely that chem hoods vent fumes out the chimney and bio cabinets vent the fumes inside the hood out into the room. I also had never thought of different thicknesses of gloves, so that was important information to get before lab work.

Tuesday's brown bag discussion was really engaging. Markus Horning, who gave the seminar on Stellar Sea Lions the first week, came back to talk about the ethics involved in using tags, especially invasive, surgically implanted ones that he used in his studies. All the interns were there and we had a good, fair debate about using life history tags vs. hot-iron branding (just what it sounds like) to track large animals, specifically sea lions. We talked about how the life history tags stress the animals more because of the captivity and surgery involved than the branding does, at least on an individual basis, and how the trade off is the sheer number of sea lions that have to branded to get equivalent results with regard to the whole population. It was good to learn about the kinds of decisions and thinking that goes into the large population studies, and the public push-back scientists sometimes deal with when working for the government as well.

Through the middle of the week I was given material to go over for sea safety (some DVD's and a book) in preparation for a journey in the near future to do some actual sampling of the flatfish I've been logging data about on the computer. We'll go out on the Elakah, a research vessel equipped with a small beam trawl with a fine mesh net and an HD mounted camera with 10cm spaced lasers for approximate measurement while reviewing behavior in the lab later. For sea safety I had to don an immersion (or survival) suit in less than a minute, which was a little challenging but not bad, and I learned about the essentials of survival in a situation where abandoning ship is necessary and plenty of safety basics.

Finally, Thursday's seminar was an interesting presentation on a museum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The museum filmed visitors as they navigated a children's exhibit designed to teach them about biodiversity. A few weeks after the children visited the museum, researchers conducted a survey to see what they remembered by asking them to draw a picture about what they remembered. The study itself was interesting, but what I really liked was how much the museum meant to the community, its located in an area of Rio made mostly of favelas (slums), and it seemed that they were really accomplishing their goal of getting under privileged kids interested in science. My parents are both teachers and my mother taught kids from bad neighborhoods in Medelline, Colombia so its an especially important idea to me.  

It was a busy week but lots of fun and it was nice to finish it by going home and spending time with my friends and family. I'll check in again next week, hope you have a good one.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hannah Lyons - Week 4

This week, to practice for future SMURFing trips, we went to the aquarium and tested out our snorkeling skills. With the help of the lovely aquarium dive instructors we got all geared up in our wetsuit, hood, gloves, booties, fins and mask. We spent about 30 minutes in the Halibut Flats exhibit swimming with Canary Rockfish, Vermilion Rockfish, China Rockfish, Sturgeon, Halibut, Longnose skate, Cabezon, Lingcod and others. The aquarium staff asks that none of the visiting snorkelers reach out and touch the fish but some of the fish will come right up to you! The water was about 53 degrees Fahrenheit so we kept moving to keep warm and waved to the aquarium visitors in the underwater tunnels below. We made sure we could take our mask and fins off and back on safely while in the water to prepare for a possibly turbulent snorkel in the ocean. After the Halibut Flats we were able to go into a tank that is divided by a plexiglass wall from the shark exhibit. We clung to the wall and Leopard Sharks and Bat Rays nuzzled up against the glass as if they were curious about us! The Broadnose Sevengill Shark nicknamed "Ms. Piggy" because she is the largest at the aquarium, came by too. It was really an amazing experience to be so close to such beautiful animals.

I also was able to accompany our captain, Keith and two of the scuba diving team out on the Shearwater (the boat we use). They were diving down to retreive and replace a CTD device that is anchored to the ocean floor. The CTD measures conductivity, temperature and depth. It is an important tool in monitoring any changes in the water in or around the marine reserve. I was in charge of recording information about the dive and trip on our data sheets and running the computer software that "talks" to the CTD to begin taking samples and retreive data already taken.

It was yet another productive and fun week!
To designate the Shearwater as a research vessel while on the reserve.

Anchored, waiting for divers and watching the cormorants, pelicans and murres.
 

Peter Sheesley – Week 5, a visit to the Hatfield Marine Science Center


Week 5 was mostly spent counting phytoplankton from our water samples. We are almost through the 45 or so samples from July 17th and 18th and will need to go out for a new sample set this week. The new sites at Pack Trails and Shore Acres are exciting places to sample because of the high cliffs and necessity for a rope to assist descent at one point. Because several of the sites now require a very low tide, it will most likely be a two or three day project to get samples from all of the sites.

The highlight of the week was our trip up to the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. We heard about several of the projects the other COSEE PRIME students are working on, had a delicious Thai lunch, visited Otter Rock (where we saw whales), and heard a talk by Carmel Finley on some of the fishery history of the Pacific Northwest. Our evening ended with hamburgers and hotdogs from the grill of Itchung Cheung, who’s house has an amazing view of the coast at Newport. I’m looking forward to having the Hatfield group visit us here in Charleston this week.

A view from within the Devil's Punchbowl

Exploring at Otter Rock

The view at dinner