Sea Grant blog Earthdate 07/23/2012

Last week saw the beginning of my cockle survey project for Oregon Sea Grant. Those of you who are regular readers have probably surmised by now that this is one project among many. However, I anticipate this project to be more focused and self-directed than the others. That is, I expect to assume more responsibility for data input, processing, and analysis than for some of the other projects. This expectation has already proven true, but let me first briefly describe our field procedure: after generating 60 random points along with their latitudes and longitudes (sites for our quadrats) via GME software, I uploaded them to a GPS unit and generated a map in ArcGIS. Then on Wednesday Scott, Jim, and I journeyed into the South Slough of Coos Bay to gather specimens. With the aid of the map and GPS unit, we navigated to the various points on the mudflat near Indian Point and dropped our 1-meter square quadrat. For each of the 60 quadrats, we raked the mud within the boundary in two swipes: first we raked a straight line in one direction and recovered cockles; then we turned 90 degrees, raked a second swipe, and recovered any additional cockles. Specimens were taken back to the lab where I measured all shell lengths, weighed each cockle, and input all data into an MS Access database. Of course, I’m leaving out many details of the field protocol for brevity, but hopefully you get the picture. We repeated the procedure on Thursday but used a different set of random points. The most challenging part of last week was, as usual, working with the computer software to generate random points and the map. ArcGIS is a truly exasperating program when one has no prior experience in it. I’ve been successful in generating useful maps; it’s just taken way longer than I think/know it should (several hour sessions). I just have to keep telling myself “You’re a student. You’re here to learn. This is perfectly normal.” Robert Allan gave me some contact info during our meeting at mid-summer check-in for whom to talk to on campus about taking some intro classes in GIS—something I definitely plan to pursue.

Mid-summer check-in was cool. It was nice to see what everybody has been doing over the last month. It was nice to be in Corvallis and sleep in my own bed for a few nights. Although some of the kids got overzealous with the simulated cow poo (actually chocolate sprinkles) on the watershed model, the booth at DaVinci Days was fun to help staff, and I met a lot of cool people. The Little Feat show was a highlight. They put on an awesome performance, and I even got one of their guitar picks.

The week that lies ahead will see me processing data for the cockle survey: generating summary stats and histograms for comparison to the Feb survey, querying out database tables, generating ANOVA and maybe some non-parametric hypothesis tests, etc., etc., etc. The Red Rock crab study continues with surveys and tagging on Mon, Wed, and Fri. Tuesday I’m helping staff the ODFW booth for a few hours at the Coos County Fair. If you’ve gotten this far and are still reading, congrats! Lets see if I can include a few photos…

Rakin’ Clinocardium nuttallii

Close-up of 1 m quad with rake

Measuring a heart cockle

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

6 thoughts on “Sea Grant blog Earthdate 07/23/2012

  1. Love little feat and Phil Brown is a friend, so weird seeing his name pop up!
    Looks like a fun time was had!

  2. I’ve been successful in generating useful maps; it’s just taken way longer than I think/know it should (several hour sessions)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.