Friday, July 8, 2011

Sarah- Hypoxia Study

My name is Sarah DeLand and I am a COSEE PRIME Intern at Shannon Point Marine Center this summer. I graduated this month from the Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA) at Everett Community College with my Associates in Arts and Sciences as well as from Jackson High School with my high school diploma. This upcoming fall I am attending Western Washington University and I am planning on majoring in marine biology.

Last year, I knew the PRIME student Darrick Dickerson and heard about this program. It immediately caught my attention because I am interested in pursuing a career in marine research. At ORCA I was able to begin performing independent research on the concentration of the heavy metal mercury in the sediments of Possession Sound. With my current research experience at Shannon Point, I will be able to get even more experience in performing research both in the field and in the lab with people who have a background in this career.

This week I worked with my advisor Dr. Apple to begin preliminary research. I worked alongside the REU student Hannah Clark to collect data on the levels of chlorophyll a in the water column as well as the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the water around the San Juan Islands. The samples were collected using a CTD probe, which stands for conductivity, temperature, and depth. The probe gathers information on the salinity, temperature, fluorescence, turbidity, photosynthetically available radiation (PAR), dissolved oxygen, and depth in the water column. The probe is also equipped with Niskin bottles to collect water samples at depth. The samples gathered for measuring dissolved oxygen were used to analyze the oxygen consumption of the surface and deep layers of the water using Winkler titrations. The Winkler titrations were done by preparing triplicate samples immediately after being collected and preparing the final three samples after a 24 hour incubation period.

After completing the first research trip and analyzing our initial samples, I discussed the outline of the projects for this summer with Dr. Apple and Hannah. This summer, I will be working to map the extent and volume of the hypoxia in Bellingham Bay both this year and historically. The data and trends I find will be compared to the hypoxic conditions found in Hood Canal in an attempt to identify any correlations with the extent, duration, and volume of the hypoxic regions.


  1. Dr. Apple will be working with community college faculty in late August and will be including a session on hypoxia in the Sound so I am sure your results will get some immediate attention from that audience. I look forward to seeing your results.

  2. Jan - you are correct. Sarah's work has already revealed some really exciting patterns that I have been wanting to investigate. This will be an important contribution to our research on hypoxia in Bellingham Bay. I'll let Sarah tell you all about it in her next blog.