Thursday, August 22, 2013

Natalie Week 7: Data analysis and Curiosity

During my second to last week at Hatfield I started wrapping up all of the slides and dissections I have been working on this summer. I was able to explain my project to all of the interns at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, who came down for an exchange day. It was really helpful being able to explain my process and the driving forces behind my project to a small group before getting up and giving my final presentation.  I spent most of my week photgraphing all of the slide that I had polished and analyzing the photographs.  I was also able to learn how to create a graph in R programming language with the help of Katelyn Bosley. This allowed me to plot the data I collected of carapace length vs. the number of rings observed in the gastric mill portions.  After analyzing the photographs I had taken my curiosity got the better of me and I hijacked a couple large ghost shrimp that were meant for crab food and dissected out the gastric mills. I made the very exciting discovery that the ring structures I observed in mud shrimp occurred in ghost shrimp as well!

During this last week I was also able to help Brett with several projects aimed to assess the eelgrass habitats in the estuary. One project included deploying breeder traps to catch fish coming in at high tide.  When we collected these traps we found quite a few staghorn sculpins, gunnels, and even a couple perch. Another project consisted of taking juvenile Dungeness crabs with hooks superglued to their backs and tethering them into the ground in the eelgrass beds.  The idea was to catch fish who tried eating the crab with the hooks to get a look at predation on dungeness crabs.  Instead we ended up with a lot of live angry crabs with hooks still on their backs.....The last project involved deploying GoPro cameras underwater at specific sites and filming the organisms inhabiting the eel grass beds. After four hours we went out again and collected the cameras so the footage could be analyzed.  All of these projects share the same goal of learning more about the two eel grass species, Zostera marina (native) and Zostera japonica (invasive) and how this habitat is being utilized by different species.

Overall, this week was busy, exciting, long, and ended far too soon.

During week 8 I focused on my presentation and working with R to analyze the data I collected for mud shrimp. I was able to find a significant positive relationship between carapace length and the number of rings observed in mud shrimp by running a linear regression. The more time I spend researching these shrimp the more questions I seem to have!

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