Monday, July 18, 2011

Stuck in the mud

I didn't really get stuck in the mud but this past week was a workout. I have not spent any time on a mud flat or experienced mud of such a sticky and viscous nature. I believe it was on Monday that Lee, Sam, and I drove out to sample a high intertidal location and it was here that I experienced a frustration with mud that I have never known before. I was lugging a bucket, a sieve, and the GPS unit. After I dug a hole in the bucket core and transfered mud to the sieve, I had to transport the sieve to water. It was this step of the process that my boots would slide right off my feet. Basically, as I took a step forward, I would fall over and my boots would come off leaving me struggling in the mud to put my boots back on. This was a low point in the week for me. But then I decided to find these straps for my boots and life has been much better since. I am going to donate them to the next intern (they keep your heel from sliding out of the boot).
The early half of the week I spent learning some of the basics of ARC-gis and helping Lee or Jessica collect a few more samples for their projects. I was supposed to clean Katelyn's shrimp tanks.... but I'll do that next week.
So the question I am helping answer is how many shrimp are in Yaquina Bay. An outline of the whole process is in order. First, we walked the edges of the shrimp populations with a GPS unit. We then uploaded these GPS locations to ARC-gis and doctored the information into a group of polygons that represented where the shrimp live on a map of Yaquina Bay. Using information from previous studies we know that the number of burrow holes roughly correlates to the number of shrimp. We are using this relationship to map the population densities on our map. After transfering the data to R, we generated 300 random points to sample. We navigate to all of these points with the GPS and use a quadrat to count the number of burrow holes per 1/4 sq meter.
Katelyn and I have completed most of the Ghost shrimp and next week we will finish the Muds. The next step is the 10 random cores for each population and sorting the samples.

One last picture of a shrimp coming out of the sieve and going straight into our sampling bag.


  1. Did I read somewhere that one of these shrimps has a parasite that is an introduced species?

  2. Your account of slogging through the mud and losing boots brought back fond memories of graduate school - I wish they had those straps back then.

    Once you finish it will be really interesting to see some of the maps of where shrimp are located in Yaquina Bay.