This week started off pretty intense and interesting. From 9 AM to 4 PM, Ali and I were one of the teams that did Habitat Mapping in the Reserve, but to get to our points (Cox Canyon/Winchester) we had to hike quite a distance. I don't know if you've ever tried hiking through a forest (not pathways, but under, over, and through brush) in really tight pants, but it's not the fastest way to get somewhere. I was really glad to be in waders when we hit the marsh though, with the appearance of the marsh came the shoe hungry mud. Both Ali and I started off pretty strong, but I took one wrong step, and my leg was swallowed by the marsh. Unlike previous encounters with sinky mud, I couldn't pull my foot out, because it had slid between two tree logs, one on top of the marsh, the other beneath the surface. It was definitely a great reminder of why hiking on your own can be dangerous. Thankfully, I wasn't alone. Ali and I spent some time getting my foot free, but the shoe was left in the mud. After we both had mud up to our elbows, the shoe came free. Even with the mud incident and the fact my waders were ripped by the hike, it was a really fun experience. There was a lot of cool wildlife and signs of wildlife. Before we sat down for lunch, we passed by some trees that had evidence of beaver munching. When we were hiking back out, we passed by Cox pond we saw a small beaver dam. After we returned to OIMB, I took a quick shower and got ready for the potluck the South Slough staff was putting on for their interns. Chris made really good brownies, but I was lame and didn't bring anything. Since it was a farewell to the other interns who would soon be leaving, we were asked what our favorite and least favorite parts of working for the Slough were. So far, my least favorite was has been hiking in waders. Despite Monday being intense, I chose it as one of my favorite parts, because I'll now be one of the infamous interns that are included in warnings of why we don't do certain things, like take a wrong step in a marsh. I've also really liked kayaking, doing the eelgrass monitoring, and being out on the skiff. There were two dogs at the potluck, so I had fun petting both of them.
I only worked half the day on Tuesday, but I continued working on my graphs since the axis on one of them was off by one unit. Chris came in with over 300 Green Crabs, so I volunteered my services of writing down the data. I ended up helping measure crabs, which was pretty fun, probably because I didn't get pinched hard. I didn't make it to Professional Development, because I was out of town. Wednesday comprised mostly of working on my temperature data. Seminar this week was by Dr. Glen Ford on The Secret Life of Dead Birds. He started his presentation by describing the New Carrisa's accident off of Coos Bay in 1999, resulting in an oil spill after the ship broke apart. Listening to the measures that were taken to get rid of the bow of the ship was horrifying and amusing at the same time. Not many vessels can claim to survive an explosion and being shot 69 times. Only a Mark 48 torpedo was capable of sinking the Ship that Would Not Die. Thousands of gallons of oil were released when the ship broke apart, killing thousands of birds. When the Deepwater Horizon oil spill happened in the Gulf of Mexico, more birds were oiled. The number of birds that are killed by the oil spill is important because it plays into how much the people/company at fault has to pay for repair and restoration.
Thursday and Friday were both early mornings. Caitlin, the OSU grad student who let me use some of her eelgrass density data for my project, came to collect more data for a few days, so I was able to pay her back by helping in the field. Since I am going to OSU in the Fall, it was cool to see how the information I have gathered during my internship here could easily become something I continue with even after my internship ends. The mascot of OSU is a beaver, so it seemed like my week was sticking to a theme. Thursday was at Barview, so Caitlin and I raced the incoming tide, but we still only got 5 quadrats each sampled. On Friday, Adam took us out in the skiff to Valino. Chris had some free time in the morning, so he came along to help also. With Chris' help, I was able to complete all 10 of my quadrats. Caitlin is much faster than I am, and she also got all 10 of her quadrats completed.
Thursday at Barview, although it was colder, had a lot more wildlife to show off. I had to pick tiny sea stars and crabs, opalescent sea slugs, a kelp crab, an isopod, and several Eelgrass Sea Hares (Phyllaplysia taylori). Friday's wildlife mostly consisted of the sea stars I pulled off Caitlin's sensors and the hairy shore crab that greeted us when we arrived at Valino. Eelgrass meadows are so important for a variety of species, and it was cool to see so many species among the eelgrass. If the eelgrass continues to vanish, these species could be left without a home.