Thursday, August 14, 2014

Riley - Week 4; Working in Willapa

July 14th-18th, 2014

     On Friday the 11th, my mentors and I traveled to Willapa Bay in Washington. Here, we conducted part of our study that is identical to the one being done in the Newport. This trip was an intensive five day trip, with an average work day lasting 15 hours. This trip was all about collecting data in three different ways: shell bags, underwater video footage, and breeder traps.
     Shell bag procedure was previously discussed in Week 3’s posting. The only difference between the shell bag sampling in Newport and the sampling in Washington was the number of bags. There were a total of 25 bags at one single site in the Yaquina Bay. In Washington at three different sites, there was a total of 42 shell bags.
     Another method used for our expedition was gathering underwater video footage. This is extremely useful because it allows us to identify fish and crabs in their environment without the bias that can be introduced from using tools such as nets. To set up the cameras required going out at low tide to deploy the camera poles first. Second, we returned during high tide via boat, and had to slide our cameras stands (with the cameras attached) over the top of the poles, and proceed to bolt those two together. Keep in mind this had to be accomplished on a vessel that was constantly being pushed by the waves and the wind, so it normally took many attempts before the camera was successfully in place. The cameras were left to record for about four hours due to battery life. Observation of the recordings will come at a later time.
     The final method to all this madness was the use of breeder traps. These were important because they captured individuals that we see in the video footage. Basically, it’s a way to back up what we claim to be seeing in the video, which hopefully makes our results a little more accurate. These traps were also put out during the low tide; two for each camera that was put out. They were left for 24 hours, so we didn’t return to measure fish until low tide the following day.

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