Friday, September 19, 2014

My last farewell; thanks to everyone that has been along the ride with me. Mahalo!

sa bai di mod thuk khon

I would first like to thank everyone that has contributed and helped me through this journey. It has been quite the time over at the Hatfield Marine Science Center and with the many memories created, it'll continue to make its influence on my life. The people met, paths walked, conversations made, food eaten, knowledge gained, and relationships built, are all things I'm glad happened to me.

To start things off, I want to acknowledge the experiences I've had with my time at HMSC and ODFW. I gained alot of life skills while out in the field working with the Human Dimensions team of the Oregon Marine Reserves Program. Spending 4-5 days out in the field and the rest of the week doing data entry and analysis, it proved a challenge to balance back and forth from my social and intuitive sides. It was difficult when I was faced with the reality that not everyone agrees with the implementation of Marine Reserves. But it wasn't all bad, I was able to learn how to deal with and calm these individuals that held much anger. I also would say my listening has gotten better- people are just passionate about their opinions, hence their engagement with their emotions, I've learned to listen. They are voicing their thoughts for a reason, and that is to be recognized and heard. I did my best to accommodate.

Though it was always a walk in the dark with the uncertainty of what people will say to you when approaching them with a clipboard and wearing state-issued uniforms, it was an eye-opener to how the public views people of "authority" and what that all entails. I had come across many people who expected me to know everything about anything and when I would say I don't have the answer, I'd be accused of participating in such devious plans of pretending not to know. Not only did I gain information on how the general public interacts with their environment, I can say I learned a lot about myself in the process. Driving from location to location, a lot of time was spent in the car alone, and in areas with no signal, time was spent with my mind and thoughts in silence. It wasn't easy to do this, and once my surroundings quieted, it seemed my inner-thoughts were amplified but sometimes, everything would quiet. But on a positive note, my sing-along skills to some songs did improve!

Moving onto a more education-oriented talk, I also did learn a lot in the academic setting. Housed in an area filled with other interns, REUs (research experience for undergrads), and OSU students studying in the marine science field, it was sunshine with two scoops of raisins. With so many people and shared interests, everyone seemed to get along, and not only that, but be also on the same wavelength (especially regarding jokes). With games like "marine bio-ball", approaching deadlines for presentations, reports, and essays, and the being living situation (in HMSC- hub for science) it was pretty inescapable from learning (until we fell asleep), so not too bad. Everyone either wanted to get other opinions on their research, their talking-style, or even just a buddy to study with, it was just a fun time!

But of course, not everything was science-related, and not everywhere was on campus. Streets were explored and many characters acquainted with. Such a dynamic group of individuals was I to befriend. I now know the magic of networking and building lasting relationships. So much of Newport was a mystery when I got there, but one thing I was certain of - the exceptional view on the Yaquina Bay Bridge. And now, two months later, that is still the one thing I'm certain of. So much of life is in the constant state of flux, and so you need those few things to help navigate you, to be your polaris.

One last Cheers!

kho khob chai than

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Leyia Johnson - Week Eight

Hello All,

Throughout the summer I was working on an ongoing project that relates the abundance of phytoplankton to the width of the surf zone. Phytoplankton are autotrophic plankton.  Autotrophs are organisms that produce their own food and plankton are organisms that cannot swim against a current. The surf zone is the region between the breaking waves and the shore. In order to gather data on the subject, I spent approximately one to two days per week walking down to several beautiful beaches along the Oregon Coast for water samples.
Komar 1998
Dissipative Beach at South Bastendorff
The beaches, where water samples were gathered, had a range of surf zone widths. The reflective beaches, which are steep with rocks, had surf zones that were only a couple meters wide. The dissipative beaches, which are flat with fine sand, had surf zones that were approximately one hundred meters wide. Surf zone width was determined by averaging measured surf zone widths on google earth images in the summer months.
Reflective Beach at South Bastendorff

Once at the beach, water samples were taken by casting a fishing pole with a well bailer cast attached into the ocean. The water that the well bailer cast gathered would then be drained into a 300 mL container and a preservative would be added. In the beginning, Acidic Lugol’s solution was used as the preservative, but towards the end, as we lacked iodine to create more Lugol’s, Formalin, which contains Formaldehyde, was used instead.
Well Bailer Cast

Compound Microscope
Back at the lab, the phytoplankton contained in the 300 mL samples were concentrated into 25 mL samples by running the 300 mL solution through a 25 micrometer mesh. A one milliliter sample was then taken from the concentrated solution and dropped onto a slide. Using a compound microscope, every single cell of desired phytoplankton was then counted.
All samples counted
The types of phytoplankton counted were Chaetoceros, Navicula, Pseudo-nitzschia, and Dinoflagella. Chaetoceros and Navicula are both a common genus of phytoplankton making them good tracers for the surf zone hydrodynamics. Pseudo-nitzschia is a genus of phytoplankton that produces domoic acid. Domoic acid causes amnesic shellfish poisoning in people. Dinoflagellata is a phylum of toxic phytoplankton best known for causing the water to appear red during a Harmful Algal Bloom, also known as a red tide. The neurotoxin present in Dinoflagella can cause ciguatera and paralytic shellfish poisoning in people.



Once the count was acquired, it was multiplied up to cells of phytoplankton per liter. With several weeks of counts, data was then compiled. Regardless of species of phytoplankton, the abundance of phytoplankton does depend on width of the surf zone. As the width of the surf zone increases, the cells of phytoplankton per liter also increases exponentially.

Phytoplankton are in the lowest trophic level. Trophic levels refer to an organism’s position in the food chain. The lowest trophic level is comprised of autotrophs, also known as primary producers. Once eaten by other marine inhabitants, the toxins in the phytoplankton are transferred up the trophic levels, potentially poisoning people. By knowing where there is the greatest concentration of toxic phytoplankton, we can harvest conscientiously, avoiding potential illness in people.