Friday, September 19, 2014

My last farewell; thanks to everyone that has been along the ride with me. Mahalo!

sa bai di mod thuk khon

I would first like to thank everyone that has contributed and helped me through this journey. It has been quite the time over at the Hatfield Marine Science Center and with the many memories created, it'll continue to make its influence on my life. The people met, paths walked, conversations made, food eaten, knowledge gained, and relationships built, are all things I'm glad happened to me.

To start things off, I want to acknowledge the experiences I've had with my time at HMSC and ODFW. I gained alot of life skills while out in the field working with the Human Dimensions team of the Oregon Marine Reserves Program. Spending 4-5 days out in the field and the rest of the week doing data entry and analysis, it proved a challenge to balance back and forth from my social and intuitive sides. It was difficult when I was faced with the reality that not everyone agrees with the implementation of Marine Reserves. But it wasn't all bad, I was able to learn how to deal with and calm these individuals that held much anger. I also would say my listening has gotten better- people are just passionate about their opinions, hence their engagement with their emotions, I've learned to listen. They are voicing their thoughts for a reason, and that is to be recognized and heard. I did my best to accommodate.

Though it was always a walk in the dark with the uncertainty of what people will say to you when approaching them with a clipboard and wearing state-issued uniforms, it was an eye-opener to how the public views people of "authority" and what that all entails. I had come across many people who expected me to know everything about anything and when I would say I don't have the answer, I'd be accused of participating in such devious plans of pretending not to know. Not only did I gain information on how the general public interacts with their environment, I can say I learned a lot about myself in the process. Driving from location to location, a lot of time was spent in the car alone, and in areas with no signal, time was spent with my mind and thoughts in silence. It wasn't easy to do this, and once my surroundings quieted, it seemed my inner-thoughts were amplified but sometimes, everything would quiet. But on a positive note, my sing-along skills to some songs did improve!

Moving onto a more education-oriented talk, I also did learn a lot in the academic setting. Housed in an area filled with other interns, REUs (research experience for undergrads), and OSU students studying in the marine science field, it was sunshine with two scoops of raisins. With so many people and shared interests, everyone seemed to get along, and not only that, but be also on the same wavelength (especially regarding jokes). With games like "marine bio-ball", approaching deadlines for presentations, reports, and essays, and the being living situation (in HMSC- hub for science) it was pretty inescapable from learning (until we fell asleep), so not too bad. Everyone either wanted to get other opinions on their research, their talking-style, or even just a buddy to study with, it was just a fun time!

But of course, not everything was science-related, and not everywhere was on campus. Streets were explored and many characters acquainted with. Such a dynamic group of individuals was I to befriend. I now know the magic of networking and building lasting relationships. So much of Newport was a mystery when I got there, but one thing I was certain of - the exceptional view on the Yaquina Bay Bridge. And now, two months later, that is still the one thing I'm certain of. So much of life is in the constant state of flux, and so you need those few things to help navigate you, to be your polaris.

One last Cheers!

kho khob chai than

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Leyia Johnson - Week Eight

Hello All,

Throughout the summer I was working on an ongoing project that relates the abundance of phytoplankton to the width of the surf zone. Phytoplankton are autotrophic plankton.  Autotrophs are organisms that produce their own food and plankton are organisms that cannot swim against a current. The surf zone is the region between the breaking waves and the shore. In order to gather data on the subject, I spent approximately one to two days per week walking down to several beautiful beaches along the Oregon Coast for water samples.
Komar 1998
Dissipative Beach at South Bastendorff
The beaches, where water samples were gathered, had a range of surf zone widths. The reflective beaches, which are steep with rocks, had surf zones that were only a couple meters wide. The dissipative beaches, which are flat with fine sand, had surf zones that were approximately one hundred meters wide. Surf zone width was determined by averaging measured surf zone widths on google earth images in the summer months.
Reflective Beach at South Bastendorff

Once at the beach, water samples were taken by casting a fishing pole with a well bailer cast attached into the ocean. The water that the well bailer cast gathered would then be drained into a 300 mL container and a preservative would be added. In the beginning, Acidic Lugol’s solution was used as the preservative, but towards the end, as we lacked iodine to create more Lugol’s, Formalin, which contains Formaldehyde, was used instead.
Well Bailer Cast

Compound Microscope
Back at the lab, the phytoplankton contained in the 300 mL samples were concentrated into 25 mL samples by running the 300 mL solution through a 25 micrometer mesh. A one milliliter sample was then taken from the concentrated solution and dropped onto a slide. Using a compound microscope, every single cell of desired phytoplankton was then counted.
All samples counted
The types of phytoplankton counted were Chaetoceros, Navicula, Pseudo-nitzschia, and Dinoflagella. Chaetoceros and Navicula are both a common genus of phytoplankton making them good tracers for the surf zone hydrodynamics. Pseudo-nitzschia is a genus of phytoplankton that produces domoic acid. Domoic acid causes amnesic shellfish poisoning in people. Dinoflagellata is a phylum of toxic phytoplankton best known for causing the water to appear red during a Harmful Algal Bloom, also known as a red tide. The neurotoxin present in Dinoflagella can cause ciguatera and paralytic shellfish poisoning in people.



Once the count was acquired, it was multiplied up to cells of phytoplankton per liter. With several weeks of counts, data was then compiled. Regardless of species of phytoplankton, the abundance of phytoplankton does depend on width of the surf zone. As the width of the surf zone increases, the cells of phytoplankton per liter also increases exponentially.

Phytoplankton are in the lowest trophic level. Trophic levels refer to an organism’s position in the food chain. The lowest trophic level is comprised of autotrophs, also known as primary producers. Once eaten by other marine inhabitants, the toxins in the phytoplankton are transferred up the trophic levels, potentially poisoning people. By knowing where there is the greatest concentration of toxic phytoplankton, we can harvest conscientiously, avoiding potential illness in people.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Peter Sheesley – Week 8; The Summer, as I Remember It

Below are the main things I think of as I look back on the summer.

Meeting New People:

One of the best parts of going back to school is meeting new people. This summer did not disappoint. The types of people I had a chance to interact with were diverse. For example, they were inspiring, strange, knowledgeable, helpful, frustrating, pleasant, awkward, pragmatic, funny, and caring. I’d be willing to guess that I too covered a similar range in their assessment of interactions with me.

Watching Dr. Who:

Probably 80% of my nights were spent watching episodes of the recent TV series, Dr. Who. I made it through several seasons during my internship time. This was an integral part of my summer experience—a ritual to end each day. Mostly, it was just a fun way to decompress at the end of the day. However, there is also a creativity and curiosity to the show that fit my overall internship experience. As the Dr. and his companions travel through time and space making discoveries and saving planets, I hope I am doing something similar in very much less grandiose, fictional, and direct ways.

Running at Cape Arago:

A few times each week I was able to park my car in Cape Arago State Park and go for a short run along the road, through the forest, along the cliffs, out to the viewpoint and back. I’d also take a detour into the woods and find a somewhat level spot for practicing my Tae KwanDo forms. This return of mine to the same exercise spot established a connection between myself and the park. I got to know the sounds and smells along the way, and got to see the place at different times of day in different weather. I will not forget the place, and it will hold a special place in my heart.

The Amazing Little Things in the Ocean:

The accounts of one’s first look at phytoplankton under the microscope are often full of marvel, and mine was no different: I marveled at the marvelousness. What appears to the naked eye as brown slime becomes an amazing array of jewel-like forms under the microscope. Not only are they organized and intricate, they are also diverse. Learning to name and identify these little gems was a true pleasure.

Giving the Final Powerpoint Talk:

I’m so glad the program included a final 15-minute presentation of what we did over the summer. This gave me an opportunity to review and personally organize some of the basics of what I learned over the summer, the main emphasis of our research, and also to analyze some of our data. It also gave me the experience of presenting the material in front of peers and experts.

Looking at the Data:

There was something very satisfying about both putting the data into a spreadsheet, and looking at it on graphs. In some ways it felt like the experience of finally getting to taste something you’ve just spent a bunch of time and energy cooking. Figuring out how to look at the data, and how to think about it also resembles playing a game: you try different ideas, and figure out which approach yields results.

Feeling Marine Science:

This is probably the most ineffable part of the experience. What I mean by “feeling” marine science is likely vague. I’ll try to explain. First, I’m not just talking about an immediate emotion I have in response to marine science. Instead I’m trying to get at the overall gestalt of it in my experience. I’m trying to look at the place, people, subject matter, climate, and compatibility with my own interests. I’m asking the question, what does it feel like for my life to be involved in the marine sciences? Another way of putting it is, how does marine science fit on me? When I put it on, how does it feel? As vague as this question may seem, it is equally difficult to answer. In some ways the only answer is the actual experience of doing it. Trying to describe it is like trying to describe a painting to someone instead of letting them actually see it. Nevertheless there is likely some benefit to trying.

There is a quote from Confucius that reads, “The wise find joy in water; the benevolent find joy in mountains.” There is more to the quote, and the context of the statement is important in order to understand it. However, what I find interesting about it is the idea that some are drawn to the water and others to the mountains. And he seems to be saying there are inherent characteristics of the person that make them so choose. This summer I found myself asking this question, “Am I an ocean person?” I find the ocean fascinating, beautiful, and mysterious. But do I feel it in my bones? The answer came to me unexpectedly. I had been spending most of my time on the beach, looking at the ocean, looking at water samples, smelling the ocean, riding the waves. Then one day I went for a walk in the woods behind the campus. The answer was the woods. When I was young I went on a roller coaster ride that swirled through trees and greenery. It was magical. Every time I’m in the woods they enchant me. On this walk through the woods behind campus I remembered that I am a woods person. That doesn’t necessarily mean I can’t or shouldn’t study marine science. I do think there is something to it though. I even started to wonder if there are two different types of music. There is music of the ocean and music of the woods. As I listened to different songs or artists, it was consistently clear which was which. Bob Marley, Paul Simon, The Beattles—they are ocean music. Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Bob Dylan—this is music of the woods.

Thinking About My Future:

There was an informative talk during the summer about going to graduate school in the marine sciences. I was surprised at how strongly I reacted against the thought that I might be studying and working towards a career in academia. It’s strange to me because I enjoy doing the studying and the research, but the thought of becoming a professor again does not interest me at all (at least not right now). I am more interested in working in a lab somewhere to make discoveries and contributions, but not as an academic faculty member. This presents some difficulty because my understanding is that much of biological science study that has theoretical or creative roots leads in this direction. The good thing is that I have a stronger sense of what I’m interested in, and can make choices as I further my education that will lead in the right direction.

My Favorite Picture from the Summer:

Finally, this is my favorite picture because I collected the sample off the docks and discovered this little sea star brachiolaria larva. What an amazing life form!

Many thank you's to all who made this summer possible!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Final Week at OIMB

        My last week was good. We presented our final presentations (as powerpoints) on August 15th. I pretty much explained what our results were and scanning electron microscopy and video analysis (I mentioned these in my previous posts).We picked up our first long term plates and our second set of short term plates on the 14th. Unfortunately we only had time to pick up and analyze our first set of short term plates (3 weeks). 

        We found that there was the most settlement on the plates at site number 3. This was equidistant between the site farthest away from the reef (site 5) and the site directly in the reef (site 1). We thought that this might be because there were less places for the larvae to settle on in this site so the larvae were more likely to choose our plates to settle as well as the surrounding reef. We found 3 major organisms; Barnacles, Hydroids (an example of this would be cup coral) and green worms. Barnacles were the most abundant.

        Overall I loved doing this internship and it was a great opportunity. It was a lot of fun setting up the materials for the sites (creating the cement blocks and plates etc.). It was exciting and interesting to analyze and identify the species we found. I would like to than my mentor, Kirstin Meyer for allowing me to have this opportunity. I would also like to thank Coral Gehrke who was in charge of the other interns and I at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB). I would also like to thank the COSEE-PP Prime program and the National Science Foundation for making this possible. The students at OIMB were also friendly, supportive and interested in the project we were working on, so I would like to thank them as well.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Last Weeks Experience at ODFW

These last few weeks, I have learned more about myself and my (current) educational goals than anything else. As far as my internship is concerned, our team was busy wrapping up the last of the videos for Phase II. Our team also started to input data from the videos, I haven't learned this process yet.

The most exciting part of the last week was going over to my mentor's house, Brittany Huntington, for a classy Indian dinner! There was curry, fish, tandoori chicken, naan bread and more! Most importantly, I was able to get together with everyone from the South Beach ODFW office and socialize away from the work setting. It was really nice being able to talk to everyone in a personal matter, moving away from the professionalism for a moment.

Each of us interns, Cindy, Hannah and myself, received an "I <3 Marine Reserves" pin and a book signed by Matt Love! The irony for me is that Matt Love was my teacher for two years, and I was presented one of his books as an award!!!! I felt very honored, and couldn't stop laughing for twenty or so minutes.
Matt Love's Book Super Sunday in Newport, with my new Marine Reserves button atop it.

Today is a new day, in a new week; and I am heading to the office. It's Wednesday, and I'm off to help with data entry and analysis. The end of my internship was the beginning of a new opportunity for me. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tabby's Final Reflection at ODFW

These last 8 weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions both in my personal and professional life. I nearly began my internship by running to an Oregon State orientation my second week. It was a moving experience, and filled with academic optimism. Aside from that, I learned how to use several pieces of expensive equipment, including Adobe's newest version of Premiere, while interning for COSEE.

Awaiting Challenges
Just a few weeks before my internship I graduated both high school, and received my two-year degree. I hadn't known that I was accepted into COSEE's program, I also promised myself that I would keep my summer filled with education. Close to three months later, I can say I kept that promise to myself. I can't explain how much I've learned and accumulated during my internship this summer. I felt unprepared at heart for the adventures to come, but my brain assured me that I could take on the challenges that would fly my way this summer.

I banded with a team scientific warriors for a collaborative video analysis. Going through data sets with a fine toothed comb, sitting in front of Adobe's Premiere for five hours, with eyes sharp like razors. I met some very intelligent scientists, and stumbled across realities and opportunities I wouldn't have been able to fathom otherwise. I learned how to snorkel, beginning in the Passages of the Deep at the Oregon Coast Aquarium before going into the ocean with arms full of equipment.

In 8 short weeks, I have gained priceless amounts of pride and strength during my time at ODFW, thanks to the Hatfield Marine Science Center, Itchung Cheung, Coral Gehrke, COSEE's PRIME program, and several other people. I have a new undying appreciation for my native coastline, and have a desire to taste every bit of education within my grasp.


If there is one big lesson I've learned; it's that scientific projects take a massive amount of teamwork and layover from different area. What do I mean by this? While Cyndi is busy in the field interviewing as many beach-goers as she can,  people at the office are scoring under water video footage. Every few weeks a couple individuals go out in the field to SMURF, in order to asses how marine reserves are doing (see video below for a view of BNKY, or net to wrap around the buoy's that need to be collected).

Cyndi taking a breather at Otter Rock

Everyone seems to do their own part, in order to contribute to a larger goal, which is research. As you can see from the video below, Neal was looking one last time for any baby fish in the BNKY net, and continued to rinse the contents of the sea out. As a team, people on deck help her (or whoever is doing the task) get equipment on and off the vessel. Teamwork is essential within the core of science, otherwise there is not experiment of efficient setup! 


I found a passion for snorkeling. To the left is an image of the Oregon Coast Aquarium's Rocky Shores exhibit in Passages of the Deep. Hannah and I went snorkeling twice at OCAq, mainly in the (first) Halibut Flats tank.

I also learned that I have an acute sensitivity to sea-sickness, but jumping in the ocean with your wetsuit quickly remedies that situation! Below is a video from Depoe Bay, as we were departing from their tiny port. This is perhaps one of my favorite places to launch, at least that I've discovered so far.

I discovered numerous local beautiful beach spots. My favorite spot of all isn't a beach, but rather a small recreational area at the mouth of the Salmon River in Lincoln City. I stumbled across this location when I went in the field with Cyndi. Of the two four times I've been with her to this location, I've seen maybe a dozen people.

I think the best part of my internship, is the connection I've made with ODFW. I plan on volunteering once a week in order to continue the project I was such a part of.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Reporting to you here, live from the post (week 6) - By: Cindyjo Keomani Boungnavath


I had one 'shell' of a time visiting our fellow interns over at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology in Charleston, Or this past week. I also went crabbing with my brother over in Garibaldi where we encountered rough waves and biting chills of water splashes. 

Upon arriving to OIMB, we were greeted with the sweet aroma to that of parking next to a cannery plant- oddly enjoyable on my end. It was unplanned, but within twenty minutes we were off to do field work at a nearby beach where we would collect plankton for later analysis. A five minute drive over with and there we were walking down a path that led us to a view I've yet not seen. The water was filled with gigantic bulb kelp that seemed to stretch four feet long. We hiked along the rocky edges of the beach which took us to a spot where we'd have a panoramic view of the ocean. After we got a few samples of the water, we headed back for the OIMB for lunch at the dining hall. It was a glorious spread of soup, cheese bread, salad, berry cobbler, lemonades and coffee. After fueling up on good food and equally good company, we later toured the dorms and office facilities. We then were able to sneak into some of the classrooms that were temporarily empty, among the one's seen were the: marine mammals and the bird and wildlife classrooms. 

Cape Arago

mussels "muscle-ing" their way onto the rock


skeleton of common dolphin

skeleton of black-footed albatross


emperor penguin


harbor seal


We later visited Dr. Shank's lab and his wondrous collection of marine life. It was a bouquet of colors of all different kinds of textures, composition and structure. His grad student, Kristen Meyer also accompanied us along the tour and talked about her recent project. It was an insightful visit to OIMB, and I look forward to the progress and results of our upcoming projects from the COSEE internship the second week of August. I'm curious to see the experiences and knowledge that we've all come across with our time working with such great people and environment.

Shank's Lab


Bridget Begay - Week 7: Fishing Cutting Party, Final Presentation, Memorable Parks and Hot Chocolate!

Yá'át'ééh everyone!

     This week starts off with the NOAA NWFSC Fish Cutting Party! This isn't any old party, this was a party to dissect juvenile salmon. With each juvenile salmon, the following organs were separated and preserved for analysis: stomach, intestines, otolith, posterior kidney and a fin sample. Once you do more than one fish, it gets easier and faster to locate organs. I found it interesting to find and locate the otoliths since you age a fish depending on how many rings there are, just like tree rings. 
      Updates on my project is that we have concluded analysis of data, and progressed to making visual representation of the coastal and bay data for Matt's and I final presentation. We are finishing up the project early this week because my mentors will be out of the office during my final week here in Newport. I've appreciated all of Waldo and Matt's hard work and time spent on assisting us COSEE Interns and allowing us to help and support the research being conducted. I'm also really looking forward to see other COSEE Intern presentations and hearing what they have to say about the whole COSEE experience! 
      I ended my week with assisting Cindy at Otter Rock on Friday and Cascade Head on the following Sunday. With the visits to Otter Rock, I can say that it's one of perfect places to whale watch, tide pool in the punch bowl and end with a lunch at Mo's Seafood clam chowder! I also cannot forget interviewing a "peanut lady" who fed peanuts to the bountiful squirrel population in the bushes, and yes, she actually gave them names. Cascade Head is filled with amazing beach locations and wildlife viewing. I think one thing that really stood out from Cascade Head would be seeing wild elk on the first visit and mother deer with her two fawns on the second visit. Going South, Cape Perpetua has one the perfect locations to go hiking to see a 300 hundred year old spruce tree and a high viewpoint to over look the ocean. I couldn't also forget, South Beach State Park, a short walking distance from Hatfield. When my family visit's next weekend, I'll be giving them a tour of the Oregon Coast and let them view these beautiful locations.

Rocking that ODFW jacket! 

While heading to Knight's Park, Cindy and I
spotted  a mother deer and her two fawns.

    Over the past weeks, I have been looking forward to the Annual Nesika Illahee Pow-Wow in Siletz, Oregon. Attending pow-wow's isn't new to me since my family and I have always attended pow-wow's around the Seattle area. I think it's always exciting to since it's a community event to celebrate Native American culture and it's great to hear the drum groups play songs. Also Cindy and I were able to get a late night food run to Newport Cafe since I've told her about the delicious, massive Hawaiian Burger I ate last time. I have to say that they make a big, glorious cup of hot chocolate! I would definitely recommend stopping here when you get the chance. 

A late night hot chocolate at Newport Cafe!

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


Bridget Begay - Week 6: Analyzing Coastal Data, OIMB and Cheesy Bread

Hello everyone!

    Let's start this week with the progress of the project. Since we have completed the Quality Control on all of the beam trawl data, we are taking the next steps to analyze the data. To interpret the all of the late 70's data, we will specifically be using species diversity measures, which measures biodiversity in plant and animal communities. Species diversity is broken down into the following concepts: richness, evenness and heterogeneity.  This week, I learned about species diversity measures, specifically Rarefaction Method, Simpson's IndexShannon-Wiener Function and Multi-response Permutation Procedures (MRPP). We are using these species diversity measures because we would like to analyze the all of the Oregon Coast beam trawls as a community. Each one of these functions can be calculated by the R program. The R program is a programming language software used for statistical computing. Learning about these methods was very new to me and challenging to understand, but I know these techniques will be very useful in the future as a researcher. 
     We organized the four bays (Umpqua, Siletz, Tillamook, Alsea) and coastal data because we wanted to look at the species diversity separately to get concise results. With each analysis, our group looked at the significance of the grouping of data and species diversity. Here is an example of an analysis of the coastal data, excluding bay data. We organized the coastal data by 6 different depths: 0m-10m, 10m-20m, 20m-30m, 30m-40m, 40m-50m and 50m - Maximum m. The MRPP resulted in an A value = 0.03225 and a p-value = 0.001, we can infer that that the groups are more different than expected by chance. This means that the grouping of each of the 6 different depths species composition is more different than if you were to take a random sample from all of the data.Also at each depth, we statistically analyzed the species composition with the Rarefaction (Species Richness) Method, Shannon-Wiener Function and Simpson's Index. One trend that we saw was that the Butter sole (Isopsetta isolepsis) has an increasing presents with a depth of 30m-40m but then decreases to deeper depths.  I think it's exciting to see the results of the community composition of the beam trawl surveys taken by Head Scientists, Earl E. Krygier and William G. Pearcy in the late 70's. Look forward to seeing our full results of the coastal and bay data on our presentation!
     This week also included a road trip to Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB) in Charleston, Oregon with all of the HMSC COSEE Interns. The drive was long but worth it since we got to tour the whole campus. We were able to attend Peter & Leyia's sample collection at Cape Arago State Park and their lab, classrooms and labs filled with marine organisms. It was great getting to know what research is being conducted at OIMB and seeing the progress of everyone's projects. There was a lot of interesting things to see, like the stuffed sea otter, a lower humpback whale jaw and the mysterious marine organisms in the Shank's Lab. We also had a very delicious lunch at the cafeteria, which it did live up to it's reputation from OIMB COSEE Interns. This trip was a great insight to the OIMB campus and where I will be attending in the future when I transfer to University of Oregon. 

Tide pooling party at Cape Arago State Park.

There was plenty of hermit crabs hidden
 behind the seagrass. 

The incredible and mysterious creatures
 found in Shank's Lab. 

The lower jaw bone of a humpback whale.


The stuffed (unhappy) sea otter
 and yes, it had very soft fur. 
You know what's good...that bomb cheesy bread!
Thank you for reading and have a great day!

Bridget Begay