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ODFW Adventures: Part I

Posted by: | June 19, 2011 | 3 Comments |

Hello everyone! My name is Lauren Dimock, and I am going to be a Junior at Willamette University this coming fall majoring in environmental science. Over the summer, I am going to be blogging with weekly updates about my experience as a Sea Grant Scholar at the Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC). I arrived at HMSC knowing only that I would be working under my Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) mentor Greg Krutzikowsky on two separate projects: estimating the spawning biomass of Pacific Herring in the Yaquina Bay and updating ODFW’s Nearshore Strategy. After a day of orientation at Oregon State University and settling in at the small but cozy dorms at HMSC, I began to find out the details of my internship.

My first day of work was a special treat, as I was lucky enough to go deep sea fishing as part of the Black Rockfish Pit Tagging Crew of ODFW for their last day on the ocean. Having only gone deep sea fishing one other time, I was no expert at catching ocean fish, so I was lucky that two very experienced and kind fishermen on the boat helped me out. They even risked their own catch to make sure my rod was in good working condition and the fish I caught made it on board safely to be quickly measured and tagged before being let go to swim back down to their homes at the bottom of the sea. From this experience, I learned to identify several types of nearshore fish, including Black, Canary, Copper, and Yelloweye Rockfish, as well as Lingcod. It was also very interesting to observe and participate in a different project from my own that will also attempt to estimate the health of a fishery by tracking their locations throughout the coming year.

My second day at work, which was really my first day of work, I was introduced to everyone around the office and given several thick documents to read and familiarize myself with, including the Nearshore Strategy and the Oregon Conservation Strategy. This is my homework to become adept enough to begin working with the Nearshore team to update the Nearshore Strategy and begin the process of combining the document with the Oregon Conservation Strategy. In my first of many weekly meetings, I learned several tasks that were aimed to update the document, including the addition of a section about estuaries, comments on the progress made from the 16 original recommendations given, general editing of minor formatting issues of the document, and the creation of a separate document about the current and future effects of climate change on strategy habitats and species. I am currently signed up to begin research for the base of the climate change document, but we have not yet carved a clear path for the layout of this document . Therefore, until our next meeting I will simply be finishing reading the Oregon Conservation Strategy so that I can better understand and participate in our next meeting.

I began the herring project on Thursday, where another member of Greg’s team named Aly drove me around the Yaquina Bay and estuary and showed me where she did her daily surveys looking for roe from February to April, which allowed me to familiarize myself with the names of the places where the roe was collected. On Friday I began counting samples. The roe are all attached to a algae named Fucus , and after measuring the entire sample size I measured out 1-2 gram sub-samples, and counted all of the eggs on both sides of the Fucus. After doing 10 of these, I checked the CV, and if it was below 0.3, then I moved to my next sample. I actually find this work to be slightly entertaining, with my clicker ready to go in my left hand and the radio singing in the background.

It has been frustrating to read the several hundred page documents I’ve been given, but understandably necessary. But the lab work is keeping things interesting, and with two projects to juggle for the next nine weeks I don’t think I will need anything extra to do. Next week I will continue counting samples and reading documents, but I will hopefully gain a solid understanding of what my role will be in the updating of the Nearshore Strategy. I’m excited to be working on these important projects at ODFW, and look forward to providing more updates next week!

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under: Lauren Dimock, Summer Scholars

3 Comments

  1. By: Sarah on June 21, 2011 at 12:37 pm      

    It’s probably a nice change for your brain to go from deciphering large documents to calculating egg counts. Can you explain the acronym “CV” from your post?

  2. By: Dimock on June 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm      

    CV is a mathmatical calculation that stands for “coefficient of variation” and is the normalized measure of dispersion of a probability distribution, or the ratio of the standard deviation to the mean. Once my calculated CV is below 0.3, I will be able to map the distribution of herring eggs in the bay with the highest level of accuracy with this method. And I can’t wait to make a map!!

  3. By: Sarah on June 22, 2011 at 5:05 pm      

    Cool! Sounds like a great way to challenge yourself, with map making as the ultimate reward. Keep counting!

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