You guys are in for a sad blog this week. Please have tissues ready to go. Thank you.
Poster presentations were this week. Everything we had worked endlessly over these entire nine weeks led up to this moment. I honestly thought that my poster was going to be the end of me, with all of the formatting and I broke my laptop right before it was due, but I made it through. And the end result is this beautiful baby!
I can honestly say that I am so proud of myself and I feel like research is much less intimidating than it was initially. These past weeks have taught me that even though things you planned do not work entirely, you just have to pick yourself up and try another way.
Steven and I got into the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation Rising TIDES program! So we will be seeing each other and Julie in Alabama, this upcoming November. Me and Steven will be presenting a joint poster combining both of our research projects. I am super excited that we get to travel and present our research together. I’m also super stoked about going to a conference for the first time, I don’t even know what to expect!
The last week, we went to all of our classic spots, such as the local Coos Bay Walmart, Bastendorff, and of course OIMB beach. I got go surfing with Phillip and he gave all of the great surfing tips. For example, bring a jug of hot water to pour over your head after you’re done, it honestly one of the most comforting things I’ve ever felt. It feels like a warm egg is being cracked over your head.
Thanks for reading my blog, hope you all enjoyed them. Bye for now!
What did I do this week? I can't remember. They say science is all about trial and error. It’s more like error, error, error, error and maybe a few trials that succeed. Let’s just say this week has given me a newfound respect for people who study ocean acidification.
I began behavior trials this week, and they didn't go how I thought it would. Which was both good and tiresome thing. I originally planned on exposing crabs to two different pH targets which were 7.4 and 7.8 for at least five days. I was going to use these crabs in my behavior trials, which was testing how long the crabs took to reach a piece of food that was placed upstream from them, and comparing the two different pH treatments. The crabs were unable to reach the food at all. It was interesting to see that most of them were unable to find the food.
I decided to use the crabs that have not been pre-conditioned and were being kept in the sea table in our lab at an ambient pH. I did a short exposure to the different pH treatments just by flowing 7.4 or 7.8 water through the behavior arena. There was an average of 81 seconds take to reach the food by the 7.8 crabs and and average of 131 seconds taken by the 7.4 crabs to reach the food. So it is cool to see that there may be some difference in their behavior by exposing them to a different pH in such a short amount of time.
But on a lighter side. The REU's are winding down our last weeks together and taking advantage of all the time we have left. This past weekend, in between poster parties we had one of our last bonfires down at OIMB beach. I watched someone roast a starburst? It gets crispy on the outside after it cools, but stays gooey on the inside. Some do recommend, but please proceed with caution.
I think my favorite part of my weekend though, was getting a chance to have dinner with Aaron and his family. We had some amazing chicken and bratwursts, all grilled by the legend himself. We just talked about all the cool research opportunities and life itself. He also bought us Dairy Queen on the way back to OIMB.
OH MY GOD THIS HAS BEEN A CRAZY WEEK.
So our contraption has been a slight set back, but we are on the come up! Do not worry folks. If there is one thing I have learned about research and science, nothing works as you thought it would and you will spend three times as much you thought you would spend on doing something. Me, Steven and Erica have been moved into the fancy crab lab, that is able to control the pH pretty darn well.
On Friday we went to this remote island that has a land bridge only when the tide is extremely low. We saw so many new animals that we haven’t seen when we usually go to South Cove. There was everything from Sea Stars to all different types of worms! Then we finished off week 7 with a bonfire. I can’t believe I only have two weeks left here.
We got the chance to do some public outreach this past Saturday at the Charleston Marine Life Center. It was so awesome finally being able to share all of the things we have learned about ocean acidification and the research projects me and Steven have been working on all summer. It felt good to share what we know to the public and know that people are interested in it and want to do things to back on their carbon consumption.
This past Saturday, all of the REU A couple of other interns went to Bastendorff beach and boogie boarded till our hand were numb from the freezing cold water we up here.
This week was filled with programming, building, tears and victory. We began programming the computer to communicate with the probes, so that it can tell the solenoids when to turn on to bring the pH up and when to bring the pH down. We have rewired, recalibrated, moved tubes, and altered things so many times in an attempt to get them to work. Last Friday we finally got everything to the perfect pH. Now I can finally begin my experiment and collect data like a mad woman for the next week.
For my project I will be submerging 72 crabs in a pH of 7.8, which represents the average pH of the water that they are living in the estuaries after they settle. Then the other 72 crabs will be submerged in a pH of 7.4, to represent the predicted future average pH by 2100. Starting after the 3 days of submergence, I will begin testing the crabs to see if their ability to find food will be affected by the lower pH.
This week we also started water chemistry on the samples in Julie’s crab lab. Meaning we titrate the total alkalinity and measure pH on the spectrophotometer, to ensure we are hitting our target carbonate chemistry (incuding pH) for our samples. We got some practice in with this so we can do this for our experiment as well.
On a lighter note this past weekend we went to Hall Lake, and it was so much fun! We had a group of about 20 UO students and REUs, and there were these huge dunes that you could slide down into the lake. At the top of dune after the long and painful trek up, was just miles of dunes, mountains and trees. I cannot express how good it felt to be back in the water, and the water was the perfect temperature and so clear.
Last Friday there was a surfing workshop for women, and I managed to stand up. It was so much fun just being able to be back at the ocean and have a beach day. Reminded me of home and got a little homesick. I can’t believe that we’re six weeks into the program and have to finish this project and have to leave all of the great friends I’ve made. #SADHANNAH
We are getting somewhere! So this week we are finishing up our building of our ocean acidification tanks. We started Monday with renovating our crab condos. We equipped them with the finest flow holes that anyone could find… then had to renovate them because they were a bit small. BUT! The reason that we make holes for the boxes we’ll be holding them in, is because they need a flow of water to carry away any fecal matter and bring fresh oxygen to them so they can breathe. We are keeping all of the crabs in separate compartments because the crabs will eat each other if they are not separated.
This past weekend we went back to the beach with a tunnel and had a little beach day. We went tide pooling and we found little pools, just filled with shore crabs. We stayed and watch yet another beautiful Charleston sunset.
We went down to the beach Thursday night, because there were some bioluminescent organisms in the water and sand. When you would swish the sand around they would flicker for a quick sand. Then we stayed a little later and named constellations. I even saw a shooting star!
Back to the tanks. I cannot express how close we are to being done. Yesterday we put in some work! We connected all of the water lines and air lines. We ran into problem after problem, but we did not let it knock us down!! We are so close to being finished and then we just have to figure out a way to control the pH and we are ready to submerge our little crabs and begin our experiment.
So in this set up. We have an experiential tank, where the crabs will be held for our experiment. Then we have a mixing tank, where it will create the acidified water with by adding in , this causes a chemical reaction with the water created an excess of ions which make the water more acidic. To balance out these ions the ocean has a natural buffer system that pulls out of the water. The only problem is that many organisms such as crustacean use to build their shells, and when there are way too many H+ ions, from the shells will be pulled out to buffer and even out the pH.
Hey everybody! Let’s kick this blog post off right!
We started this week on a pretty high note and let’s see if we can end it out with a shebang too. This weekend we went camping and trust me, I was not on board with this. Though I was terrified that my sweet blood would attract all of the mosquitos and that I would get hypothermia, I stuck it out till the end. Surprisingly enough I had a great time and would totally do it again. We had a nice bonfire (so I wouldn’t catch hypothermia) and we sang songs while one of the other students played guitar and it was a really nice moment to sit down and enjoy the beauty of where we are.
Then we had a really cool seminar speaker this week, Katherine Muzik. She told us about all of the research she has done throughout her life time with corals in Japan, Fiji and Hawaii. It was amazing to see all of the different types of corals she’s discovered. She also shared how some of her life’s work was destroyed by the mass coral bleaching events in the ocean. I think it really makes a person realize how sensitive somethings in nature really are and we need to do contribute to making greener and better choices to help fight against climate change.
Now let’s bring it back to the research. This week was a build week insert muscle man intro here. Our adventure begins with Erica, who is a high school teacher doing grant funded research pertaining to ocean acidification in the lab. We hit all the stores for supplies and started the building process for our ocean acidification simulator tanks. This is the beginning part of our set up and once we are up and running we can finally start our experiments. Since less and less megalopae are coming into the docs we have decided to start collecting juveniles in the mud flats next week, so stay tuned for that adventure. Will we lose our boots? The world may never know.
Happy fourth folks, let’s jump right in! To start off last weekend, we went on a guided hike in Sunset Bay, where we identified native, nonnative and invasive plants off the southern coast of Oregon. They also gave us an edible guided tour of what plants were safe to eat and harvest. After the tour was over, we found a path that led down a cliff into the Bay. In between hiking we founded Megalopia, a crab retirement community retrofitted with a skate park, cemetery and even hammock for a crabs to use in the leisure time. We then made our way back to sunset bay to watch the sunset and watch deer graze in the meadow. To wrap up the weekend we had a REU slumber party and pulled our mattresses out into the hallway, because apparently having walls that don’t reach the ceiling isn’t close enough.
Besides all of the adventure, we are in full prep mode with our proposals and beginning to build the tanks for our experiments. I have nailed down a question for my project which will be “Does Ocean Acidification affect the foraging ability in juvenile Dungeness crabs?”. So, I will have my little crab condos set up and in two different pH’s. One that represents the pH that they are living in now and a pH that represents what they could be potentially living in, in the future. Then I will be testing out a contraption like this one pictured above. I will fill the left side of the flume with sand and hide food in it and see if the crabs sense the food cues from it and find it. Then I will see if living in that pH will affect their ability to find the food.
This past Thursday OIMB had a Fourth of July picnic for all the staff and students. It was so much fun, playing Frisbee and getting egged during the egg toss, and our America themed fasion show. Some of the other students and I even went swimming in the cold north Pacific coast waters. It was super fun and we ended the day by watching the fireworks from the jetty.
Hey all! I kicked off this week by collecting some new Dungeness crab megalopae, which are the last larval stage before they turn into juvenile little crabs. The megalopa have little tails that you can see in this photo. When they are ready to leave this stage, their tails will tuck underneath them and they will molt and leave their previous shells behind.
Today we are beginning the construction of the flumes and ocean acidification simulators, which are the mixing PVC pipes, Equilibrium pipes and a bucket and many MANY tubes. We are designing a way to get the most amount of CO2 to react with the water before it reaches the actual tank containing crabs, this way it will keep the pH of the tank more stable.
Friday was also a huge day. We went out with one of our fellow interns, Sofia, who is in the South Slough lab. We went with her on Friday to help her document the endangered plant species Bird’s Beak, and we helped her collect soil samples, map, and flag where we found them. We went up and back down the estuary of the South Slough. I am running out of the amount words I can use, but this place has given me the best hands on experience and I am so grateful to have learned so much in my two weeks that I have been here.
Besides all the science stuff, us interns do manage to have a grand old time. This week was filled with watching Blue Planet II, hikes through sunset bay and Cape Arago in our free time. Honestly the photos that we have taken does not this place justice. Everything is so picturesque and is a true adventure. On Thursday one of the University of Oregon students led us down this path into a cave and down a cliff where we had to scale it with a rope (really wasn’t that steep, but for me it was crazy). It led out into this look out and we watched the sunset together. It was one of those sunsets that really makes you watch it and take in all of its beauty.
Hey everyone I’m Hannah! I am a third year marine biology major and theater minor at UCLA. I am a part of an organization at UCLA that does service missions related to environmental issues, so you could probably say I like being outside. I played water polo for six years, showing you that I cannot survive without being around a body of water. I have done some previous microbiology research revolving around the functions of mRNA splicing, but I wanted to delve into marine ecology and get a little closer to my major.
Coming to Charleston, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. As a Los Angeles native, I was not prepared for the groggy days and cold weather, but being at OIMB has changed my mind entirely. The very first day the other interns and I explored the trails right behind the university, and I was blown away by how green all of the trees and mountainside are.
Making our way down to Bastendorff beach we found some jellies that had washed up on the shore. Though, if one does not feel like making the trek to get to Bastendorff beach, there are plenty of cool animals all around campus to discover. We got to experience heading up and down the mudflats, documenting crabs, holding starfish and more.
Dr. Schram took my lab partner and I tide pooling to take advantage of the extremely low tide and we saw so many organisms I had never seen before! I was definitely out of my comfort zone as I am very tall and extremely afraid of slipping and falling, but it was so worth it. We saw gum-boot chitons, red and purple urchins, shore crabs, sea stars and so much more.
Getting into the nitty gritty and starting the broad research I am doing this summer. I will be working in the Coastal Trophic Ecology Lab with Dr. Galloway and Dr. Schram. The overarching goal of my project is to see how juvenile Dungeness Crabs are affected by ocean acidification. Ocean acidification is caused, in part, by the high amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere mixing with the sea water. This causes the water to become more acidic and when it meets the basic calcium carbonate shells of the crabs, the shells can become brittle or the crabs may have a harder time developing a new shell after they leave their old one behind. Ocean acidification may also affect the crab’s ability to smell their prey. My project will probably focus on how ocean acidification affects juvenile crab’s foraging behaviors, which may or may not decrease their survivability. I am super stoked to be working with Dr. Galloway and Dr. Schram this summer and so thankful to be at such a great marine biology station!