Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Natalie Week 5 Shrimp Nirvana

This week at Hatfield I was able to help Brett complete his collections of the shells bags that were placed in the Zostera japonica sea grass beds and I also helped him sort through the samples. We found many more shore crabs, Hemigrapsus oregonensis, than we did Dungeness crabs which was consistent with the other sites that were closer to the mouth of the bay. I also helped Katelyn Bosley complete her survey of the mud shrimp Upogebia pugettensis by shrimp coring.  This process starts by selecting 10 random points throughout the mudflat in low, medium, and high density beds and navigating to those points with our GPS unit.  We then sink the core, a large metal device, into the mud and count the number of shrimp burrows inside the sample area.  We then use a shovel to dig out the sediment and place it into sieves.  We can use our hands or water to rinse away the sediment and expose the shrimp, which we then collect and freeze so Katelyn can extract lipofuscin from their brains later. 

This week I was also give the amazing opportunity to go to a behind the scenes tour of the Oregon Coast Aquarium located right next to Hatfield.  The educational program director Wendy took us on a tour and showed us the jellyfish propagating room, the brine shrimp growth area, the freezers where they keep the restaurant-quality seafood they feed the marine mammals, and the tops of the passages of the deep tanks.

I also progressed with my gastric mill slides, which I was able to polish with the help of Tom Murphy, a scientist working in Dr. Jessica Miller’s lab.  Though I am waiting on a compound scope camera to document my slides I have located an area of the lateral ossicle attached to the lateral tooth that looks promising for growth rings and hopefully I will decipher what these lines mean next week.

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