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Archive for Micaela Edelson

Week Ten: The End

Posted by: | August 18, 2015 | 1 Comment |

I decided to write my final blog post on my second to last day of work at the EPA. I am only working three days this week, because I need time to pack for school before I fly to Pennsylvania on Saturday, and tomorrow the interns are presenting their summer work. This week wasn’t eventful, I was mainly finalizing tables at work and preparing for school. However, amidst the uneventfulness, I had time to reflect on this past summer and whether I achieved the SMART goals that I had created at the beginning of the summer.

I had three SMART goals. My personal goal was to learn to cook cheap and healthy food that tastes good every evening for dinner, while my two professional goals were to provide useful feedback during my team’ weekly group meetings that will contribute to the overall outcome of CBRAT and to determine whether I can see myself as a future EPA employee like I previously desired, or if non-governmental organizations seem more exciting and relaxed than the rigid structure of a government agency.
My personal goal was to a certain extent achieved. I did not starve obviously but I did not particularly venture into the world of cuisine. I made burritos, nachos, salad, sandwiches, pasta, and other easy dishes. However, I feel like even though these dishes are not complex, it still required basic skills such as using the stove and microwave and chopping up veggies.

My first professional goal was achieved, however, without question. Every week, I shared what I had been working on and what values I found, but I also helped design the homepage for CBRAT, compile a list of ‘to-do’ items for CBRAT’s public version, helped identify problems with CBRAT, and helped write an abstract submission to a climate change conference. I participated every week outside of sharing my work duties.

With regards to the final professional goal, I have determined that a non-governmental agency suits me better than a government agency at this point in my life. I applaud the work of government workers and truly think the EPA is doing some incredible things, but the bureaucracy and structure in the government agency is limiting. My mentor, Christina, used to do field work every day. However, the agency decided to focus more on using data previously available rather than create more. Now Christina is restricted to sitting at a computer for forty hours a week. My future career goal now is to work for a non-governmental organization working with the EPA to create policies and advocate for environmental protection, environmental justice, and climate change and clean energy initiatives.

On Wednesday I leave for Salem with my goals for the most part achieved. It feels weird knowing I am leaving a summer full of memories behind. Although I live in Oregon, I am not sure if and when I’ll be able to visit Newport next; and when I do visit, the atmosphere will be nostalgic rather than exciting. Thank you Oregon Sea Grant for this amazing summer!

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So long Newport!

under: Micaela Edelson

This week was my final full week as an Oregon Sea Grant Scholar. In addition to preparing for the symposium, at work I finalized tables for the aragonite saturation and pH thresholds for echinoderms, amphipods, and polychaetes. I will finish up with fish and bivalves this coming week. Also, this week at work, we discovered that Bernie Sanders posted a picture of Rosalyn, Ron, Weiwu, and I on his campaign Facebook. I was honored to be one of the 21 pictures he posted.

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With regards to the final symposium, I thought it went really well. I felt really confident presenting on CBRAT and really knowledgeable when I could answer and explain my poster to questioners. I thought the symposium was well executed and a good last event/goodbye as most of the scholars left Hatfield for the summer and, I will not see all but Ron for a long time.

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We did make the most of our time together this past week knowing that we had limited time. The Sea Grant scholars and the REU interns went out to Local Oceans for dinner on Wednesday as sort of a ‘last supper’ kind of deal. Afterwards, we went to Beir One and met up with more interns and enjoyed each other’s’ company while playing games.

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On Thursday, my family came to take me to dinner after they spent a few days camping on the coast. We went to the Noodle Cafe and I had amazing pho!

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Also on Thursday, the interns all had one final bonfire and listened to farewell songs.

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Finally, on Friday I said goodbye to Austin at Hatfield, and I said goodbye to Abby and Rosalyn after they dropped my off at my house in Salem (on their way to Portland).

UntitledWhile it was sad to say goodbye, I still had an enjoyable weekend. I saw my dog, I saw Wicked in Portland on Saturday, and I was able to spend time with my family.

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All in all, this week has been a good start to a great end.

under: Micaela Edelson

Last week I only worked three out of the five days. My boyfriend came up from California and I showed him around the coast on Wednesday and Thursday. We went to Agate Beach, Devil’s Punchbowl, the Historic Bayfront, and up to Lincoln City! It was very great seeing him!

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On Monday, Tuesday, and Friday I did go to work and finished up collecting aragonite saturation and pH values for potential thresholds for the various taxa I needed to complete.

The weekend primarily consisted of two events: the tuna cook-off and the Bernie Sanders rally. On Saturday from 11-3 at the Newport docks, amateur and professional teams competed in the Great Albacore Tuna BBQ Challenge! Student tickets were only $10 and you can leave and renter throughout the day. Rosalyn, Ron, and Weiwu, an REU intern, stuffed our stomachs with fresh tuna for three hours. I was so full from the event I didn’t eat dinner even though the challenge ended at 3! The food was delicious and even though our favorites didn’t end up winning, it was still a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

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On Sunday, Abby, Rosalyn, Ron, Weiwu, and I all headed up to Portland to see Bernie Sanders speak at the Moda Center. We got to Portland around lunchtime and went to eat with my sister who met us there. We walked around Portland for a little bit and then my sister dropped us off at the rally at 4:30—an hour and a half before doors opened. We were able to go onto the floor in front of his podium and had a great view of the Senator. 28,000 people ended up showing up the rally—the largest rally in the election thus far. In a stadium with maximum capacity at 19,000, 9,000 people listened to his speech from outside the Moda Center. We listened to him speak about economic, racial, and social inequality, climate change, affordable college, and other serious political issues. I also ran into an old friend from high-school at the rally and saw pictures on my Facebook newsfeed of Facebook friends who also attended. It was extraordinary and invigorating.

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Afterward, we went to Salt and Straw for ice-cream (I had the honey lavender flavor) and ended up getting back to Hatfield at 2 in the morning!

under: Micaela Edelson

This past week I have been working on finding aragonite saturation and pH values for potential thresholds for fish, echinoderms, amphipods, and polychaetes. Sarah H. briefly visited me at work on Wednesday to see what I’ve been doing. On Thursday, our project was audited, so people from Corvallis came to interrogate my mentor about the quality assurance procedures for CBRAT. Also, on Friday, my mentor, Anthony, and I went on a boat ride in the estuary. We were going to go out of the boat and sieve through the mud and collect some samples just for fun; however, at our first stop Anthony got stuck in the mud and lost a boot! The boat ride was still fun and I was able to catch jellies and crab molts by reaching my hand out of the boat.

This week was also fun outside of work! On Wednesday, I went with a bunch of REU interns and got my nose pierced! Afterwards, to celebrate, we had a mini-wine and cheese night.

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Thursday, Hatfield summer residents hosted another potluck, and the food was delicious! On Friday, Austin’s mentor, Dan, hosted Austin, Rosalyn, Abby, and I for another mini-potluck where we ate, played card games, and video games! It was really enjoyable! Then on Saturday, Abby, Rosalyn, Ron, Weiwu (REU intern), and I hiked Cascade Head! The view was great!

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Afterwards, we went to Pelican Brewing Company for dinner and walked the beach at Pacific City!

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under: Micaela Edelson

This past week was very interesting between working during the day and playing during the evening! At work, I finished searching for values for aragonite saturation and pH thresholds for bivalves. There were so many papers that had the impacts of ocean acidification for bivalves—mainly oysters (Crassostrea virginica and Crassostrea gigas) and mussels (Mytulis edulis). With so many papers, this particular literature review took longer than most of the others so it was basically the only thing I worked on this week! However, on Friday, my mentor and I went out on the estuary to monitor a rare estuarine plant that only occurs in Newport and Coos Bay in Oregon. It wasn’t blooming this week, so I think we’re going out again next week to see it in bloom. While we were out, we saw a dead seagull without a head, so that was a pretty interesting way to end the work week.

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The social part of the week was quite eventful! On Monday we went blueberry picking at Siletz and made blueberry lemonade. I’ve made blueberry smoothies so often this past week. Also, on Thursday, the scholars and I went to the Oregon Sea Grant picnic and had a blast playing and ladder ball, walking on the beach, and eating delicious food! That evening we all went to karaoke with some REU interns. We also went to Yaquina Bay head and lighthouse on Friday after work. The view was great and the walk was refreshing.

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On Saturday, Abby went up to Eugene for a wedding and Ron, Rosalyn, and I accompanied her to Eugene and explored the city that day. We went to the Saturday market, Buffalo Exchange, and the movie theater to see Inside Out. It was a packed and fun day. Today Rosalyn, Ron, and I went over the bridge to look at an Antique mall and then explored the Nye Beach district. Abby joined us for dinner at Nana’s Irish Pub. This past weekend the scholars and I also made a Newport bucket list of things to accomplish before the end of the summer. This list includes kayaking, glass blowing, hiking Cascade head, going to the wooden boat show, and going to Nana’s (which we already checked off the list). I’m looking forward to the next couple of weeks.

under: Micaela Edelson, Uncategorized

We have hit the halfway point in the summer! This past week has also been super exciting! At work, I finished up searching for sea surface temperature values. I found a NOAA climate change portal where you can set the variable you want to look at (sea surface temperature), set the time period in which you want to see the change (2000 to 2100), set the RCP scenario (4.5 and 8.5) , and you can zoom in on the region you want. Although this map wasn’t interactive and I used approximate estimates based on the contours and legend, in the future we can extract the data and use ArcGIS to get the exact zonal mean for each ecoregion. Unfortunately, I do not have ArcGIS on my computer so I won’t be able to do that task. Instead, I have moved on to finding pH thresholds for decapods and pH and aragonite saturation thresholds for bivalves. My mentor, Henry, decided that in addition to using aragonite saturation as the variable for ocean acidification, we should use pH because the acidity can affect the chemistry of an organism, and this way we can also examine the impact of ocean acidification on non-calcifying organisms.

Also this week, I went on the mudflats with Austin, Dan (his mentor), and Anthony (the other intern working with me) and helped collect and measure juvenile crabs from pit traps and shell bags. We woke up at the crack of dawn and headed down to the middle Sally’s Bend. Within the first ten meters of the flats I got stuck and Dan had to help me get unstuck. Fortunately, I acclimated myself to the flats and never got fully stuck after that. We also visited Sawyer’s Landing and Sally’s Bend East where the mudflats weren’t as soft and the distance to the traps weren’t as far. After we were out of the field, Anthony and I helped Austin record all of the crabs that we couldn’t measure out in the field—we were in a hurry because the tide was coming in. It was an amazing experience and I saw so many different organisms! In addition to Dungeness and Hemigrabsis crabs of all sizes, I saw hermit crabs, mud and ghost shrimp, polychaetes, jellies, sculpins, cockles, and oysters—something that I would never experience sitting in the office.

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I also had an exciting social life this week! On Wednesday the Hatfield residents put on a potluck and there was so many delicious dishes! I brought a simple salad but I ate samosas, stuffed peppers, crab legs, beer cheese soup, banana bread, nachos, mashed potatoes, and a ton of other really delicious foods.

On Friday I didn’t have work because of the Sea Grant mid-summer check-in. We listened to Mariah explain how to communicate science and present properly. It was really helpful and will surely be useful in future presentations, especially our final symposium. We also listened to everyone give presentations about what they are doing this summer. We then got free passes to go to the aquarium! It was really cool seeing a lot of the species I have been reading about. We saw crabs, eels, anemones, jellies, sea stars, seals, sea lions, otters, sharks, rockfish, and a ton of other species.

After the aquarium, we headed down to Beverly Beach for a barbeque and camping and saw some amazing sunsets.

The next day after the camping trip, some of the REU interns and Ron and I went to the beach and spent the 80˚ weather basking in the sun. We also went to Rogue to celebrate someone’s birthday and had a bonfire on the estuary.

  

It was a satisfying week and weekend and I can’t believe we only have five weeks left!

under: Micaela Edelson

I am no longer writing for this blog as a teenager! My twentieth birthday was Saturday and my family and best-friend came down to Newport for the weekend! We walked around Hatfield, we walked along the Bay front, visited the beach, did a little hiking, and celebrated my birthday at the Noodle café. The weekend was like home at the beach!

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This week at work I was researching predicted sea-surface temperatures in 2100 for each ecoregion. I also had to find values for each of International Panel on Climate Change’s Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). These are emission scenarios that could occur over the course of the century depending on emission restrictions and other climate change initiatives that we pursue. The four scenarios are 2.6, 4.5, 6.0, and 8.5—named after the range of possible radiative forcings in 2100. As I am finding four projections for each of the twelve ecoregions, I have to find 48 values. However, the literature does not have all of those numbers and I am waiting until this week to talk to one of mentors, Henry, to get his opinion on what the course of action should be as he was out of town most of this past week.

Nonetheless, what I have found has been worrisome. All of the values I have found project at least a 1˚C increase by the end of the century with some scenarios predicting up to a 5˚C increase. In order to determine organisms’ relative vulnerability to an increase in sea surface temperature, Henry is developing a table of thermal cutpoints for each ecoregion based on current mean sea surface temperature data and the projected sea surface temperature values. None, low, moderate, and high risk of temperature increase for the species will be determined through the species’ thermal tolerance which is indicative of their current biogeographical distribution. Henry developed a complicated series of rules that I don’t completely understand and don’t think I can properly explain quite yet.

In addition to researching sea surface temperature, the other intern working in my office, Christina (my other mentor), and I were all supposed to get field work training on a boat last Friday; however, the intern was sick and we postponed the trip until next week. Since I was waiting for Henry to return, I didn’t have much research to do. Instead, I helped Christina write an abstract for a climate conference that she will attend in November. She will be presenting a poster on CBRAT and how it is incorporating climate change impacts and specific values to assess species’ vulnerability. She has presented at this conference before, but this will be the first time she is able to report on the climate side of CBRAT which will surely please the climatologists at the conference—many of whom have published studies that I have obtained values from.

under: Micaela Edelson, Uncategorized

This past week has been very exciting! A new intern came to work in my office and it has been a lot more interesting having someone to share my eight-hour day with. Anthony is a pathways intern from California and it’s his first time in Oregon, so we have been showing him around. This past week I have been finding aragonite saturation thresholds for decapods (i.e. crabs, lobsters, shrimp). I needed to find low, moderate, and high values. So a low aragonite saturation value, would have a high impact on calcifying organisms, and a high aragonite saturation value would have a lesser impact. The less aragonite in the ocean, the harder it is for organisms to calcify, so they have to devote more energy to calcifying and less to other things, such as growth. Thus, if an organism has trouble growing because the aragonite saturation state, the impact would be less than if the aragonite saturation state has caused the organism mortality. Based on the literature, we decided 1.5 would be an appropriate low-impact threshold and 0.9 would be a high-impact threshold. We could not find anything that supported a moderate-impact threshold, so we just averaged the low and high numbers and used 1.2 as a moderate-impact threshold.

In addition to working all week, the interns went on many adventures. We had another bonfire on the beach on Thursday night and spent our day off on Friday relaxing at the Bayfront. On the fourth of July, we got up early to see the tide pools during low tide at Strawberry Hill. We saw starfish, urchins, anemones, fish, crabs, and seals! It was so amazing to see all of the marine life in the wild!

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Afterwards, we went hiking near Cape Perpetua, went to Devil’s Churn, and stopped by a flea market in Yachats. We got back to Hatfield by 1 and got all showered and fed for the small Independence Day party we had. The day was completed with fireworks overlooking the bay.

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We worked during the week and played during the weekend, a week that was perfectly balanced.

under: Micaela Edelson

Week Two: Adieu

Posted by: | June 28, 2015 | 2 Comments |

My second week as an Oregon Sea Grant Scholar is coming to an end. This week has been incredibly exciting and justifiably greater than the last. I finalized values for expected sea-level rise by ecoregion and defended my numbers and sources in our weekly team meetings. I also moved on to researching more about ocean acidification. We are researching how climate change is impacting marine organisms, so we are using aragonite saturation as a measure of ocean acidification rather than pH. As the acidity in the ocean increases, carbonate decreases and so does aragonite saturation. Thus, the lower the aragonite saturation state, the more difficult it is for calcifying organisms to survive. My mentor, Henry Lee, has numbers for expected aragonite saturation by 2100 for each ecoregion provided by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), but these values were calculated for the middle of the ocean rather than off the coast—where the calcifying organisms are located. My task is to find expected aragonite saturation values to see if the IUCN numbers are valid.

Next week the EPA Pacific Coastal Ecological Branch is expecting EPA administrators from Washington to visit and another intern will be working in my office, so I am excited to go to work! Also, this past week I got an official EPA sign for my office door!

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As far as social life is concerned, the summer interns are still having a blast. Several of the Sea Grant scholars and an REU intern went to Portland for the weekend and explored the city! We went to the Saturday Market, walked around Pioneer’s Place, went to Powell’s bookstore, shopped at Buffalo Exchange, and went to the Tigard farmer’s market!

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Overall, I really feel like I’m growing as a person throughout this experience. My previous summers were lazy and very relaxed; but as I have a 9-5 workday during the week, I am making more of an effort to ensure that my weekend is full of fun in order to counteract the seriousness my work week. It has been tiring between working eight hours a day and finding time to socialize and have fun, but I think it has helped me appreciate time more. I’m excited to work next week, and I am excited to celebrate the 4th of July at Newport!

under: Micaela Edelson, Uncategorized

Week One: Done

Posted by: | June 21, 2015 | 2 Comments |

Tomorrow marks my first completed week as an Oregon Sea Grant Scholar. While this week has been primarily adjusting to the 9-5 work day, cooking all my own food, and the windy Newport weather, I also find it quite easy to feel as though I have been here for weeks already.

I am interning at the U.S. EPA Pacific Coastal Ecology Branch and have been data mining and compiling information related to assessing the climate vulnerability for marine organisms along the coast in an online tool called CBRAT (Coastal Biodiversity Risk Analysis Tool). I have been searching for literature that predicts estimated sea level changes. This has been more difficult than I had originally anticipated as most papers reference the IPCC’s predicted global sea level rise while I am looking for predictions specific to Pacific ecoregions. I am looking at twelve ecoregions from the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic to the Cortezian Shelf which contains the Gulf of California. So far, I have found at least one estimate for ten of the twelve ecoregions. Sea level rise is then applied to the vulnerability for marine organisms by using their life history traits and also knowledge regarding the urbanization of that region. For example, a crab that lives in the intertidal zone will be forced to move further inland due to sea-level rise but might be blocked by a wall in Southern California but will have plenty of room to move inland in the Arctic regions. The crab in Southern California will receive a relatively high algorathmic vulnerability rating for the program and thus be more susceptible to sea-level rise and climate change than the crab in the Arctic. Organisms that do not live in the intertidal zone won’t be as affected, so they will receive a low algorathmic rating for the program.

My mentor has also promised future work on ocean acidification, which I eagerly await.

This experience has not been solely working. During the evenings, I am able to relax with the other OSG scholars and with the REU students staying at Hatfield. Today students for Hatfield’s summer session are expected to arrive, so they’re will be even more people to meet! One of the highlights from this past week was going to the jetty in South Beach and building a pretty sturdy campfire. An REU student built the fire, but I was able to contribute to the fire display with lighter fluid. Other adventures include going to the Farmer’s Markets, walking the Estuary trail, and chasing Newport sunsets.

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While this week has been very eventful, I expect more exciting work and free-time adventures to come over the next nine weeks. Also, my twitter handle is @EdelsonMicaela and I will be posting almost daily about my adventures here in Newport!

under: Micaela Edelson

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