Monday, July 1, 2013

Ella Deck - WEEK ONE at Hatfield!

Hello, my name is Ella Deck and I have been working towards my associate of science degree at both Portland Community and Lane Community colleges. I plan to transfer to the University of Oregon’s general biology degree program in the fall. I applied for the COSEE internships because I believe that the study of marine sciences is critical to understanding the implications of a changing environment. I hope that the work I do this summer will further understanding of the intricate marine systems in place. 

I am working with fellow COSEE intern Katlyn Haven on Dr. Waldo Wakefield's characterization of soft sediment fish project. We are entering historical data from 1977-1979 on juvenile flatfish species of the central Oregon coast. The data has been used in multiple papers because it is so comprehensive, including information on multiple fish species. The two most common species collected in this data set were sole and sanddab species and were collected using a beam trawl. Current data being collected by Dr. Wakefield and others also includes flatfish species collected by beam trawl in a similar fashion. Because of this similarity of collection methods we will be able to compare the historical data to the recently collected data on the flatfish. Our job is to enter and decipher the notes from the historical data, learning a lot about the scientific names of the flatfish along the way.

One paper based off of this data collection examined the effects of hypoxia on the flatfish, a concerning event especially for these fish as they may have a slower reaction to hypoxic and therefore harmful waters. The recent data sets use a video camera to measure the reactivity of the flatfish. A chain is passed over the sand in which the fish hide and the fish are seen as they swim out of the way. These recordings of their responses are analyzed later back in the lab. Just as video cameras were not used in the '70s, there was not an easy way to measure the D.O. (dissolved oxygen level) so the data that we are entering does not include this level of detail. Instead, size and number of fish were recorded as well as location of collection, reflecting characterizations of the various populations at the time. 

I got  to spend the sunniest day so far this week outside collecting mud shrimp in Yaquina Bay mudflats for a different COSEE project “cross-training” (or honing my science skills in a new  way). There has been a lot of opportunity to network with the professors and graduate students here, and it is very exciting to be a part of the work being done at Hatfield!

Pictured: our new and very own office space and the famous Newport bridge.


  1. When you come to Charleston on the OIMB exchange day we should talk about some of the opportunities at the University of Oregon for you to continue with undergraduate research.

    1. Thank you, I would love to hear about research opportunities at the University of Oregon.

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