Crabs revisited, carpentry, and a BBQ.

Last week was pretty mellow and represented what one might call “more of the same,” but not in a bad way. In my last blog post I wrote that I was excited to begin my cockle project in earnest this past week. Well, turns out I got my dates mixed up, because that’s actually happening this coming week.

The week started off with some light carpentry work at a storage space in the marina. ODFW will be moving some supplies (boat, crab traps, waders, misc. tools) from one storage garage to another, and we needed to build some shelves to accommodate the gear. It was simple construction involving electric screwdrivers and circular saws and served as a reminder that jobs in fisheries science aren’t always spent in the lab or in the field. It’s important to have a variety of skills in any profession, I think, and be prepared to use them when circumstances demand. The rest of the day and much of Tuesday was spent in front of the computer practicing my GIS and database skills. Scott introduced me to a series of nautical charts from NOAA called S-57 charts. They’re fairly powerful in that dozens of geographic features can be added or eliminated to create a chart that’s suitable to one’s needs. I had to download an add-on for ArcGIS in order to use the charts, and after some initial frustrations was successful in getting it to work.

The rest of the week involved revisiting the Red Rock crab (Cancer productus) life history study. After some exploratory analyses, it was determined that we need more data, so on Wednesday Scott, Jim (another shellfish biologist at ODFW), and I re-deployed the crab traps in Charleston marina in an effort to capture more crabs for tagging. We set 13 traps throughout “A-dock” in the inner boat basin. Thursday and Friday mornings were spent measuring, weighing, and tagging crabs just as we had the previous week. By now I’ve gotten pretty efficient at it, and it’s something I’ve developed a real enjoyment for. I’m very interested to see how the data will pan out towards the end of the year.

On Wednesday one of the biologists brought his grill to work, and we had a cook-out for lunch. Burgers, hot dogs, salad, halibut—all the basic necessities were there. I have to say that I’ve been eating quite well here in Charleston. OIMB employs professional chefs who always produce wonderful feats of culinary creation. I don’t think we’ve had the same thing twice yet. Thumbs up to the meal plan.

This week’s agenda includes urchin sampling and the beginning of my cockle study (for real!). Cockle sampling will occur Wednesday through Friday, and since I will be in Corvallis on Friday for midsummer check-in, Scott says he’ll recruit an extra person to help gather data. Looking forward to more exciting experiences with ODFW. Will hopefully have more photos to share.

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