Some of my more loyal readers may have noticed that I haven’t posted in awhile- and that’s ’cause I’ve been too busy having fun in the Oregon wilderness! That, and there’s no service in the woods.
The past couple weeks have been very eventful: the mid-summer check in and practice presentation for Sea Grant, 2 camping trips in 2 weekends, UAS surveys in Tillamook (more travel), and experimental design back at the Charleston ODFW office.
The mid-summer check in was basically a run through of our projects thus far, presented in front of the other scholars and some Sea Grant admins. I went way over the allotted time (oops, will fix for the final talk) but was proud to share all that I’ve been involved in with my 2 mentors at ODFW. It was also cool to hear what everyone else had been up to. The provided lunch and bbq that followed weren’t a bad touch either.
That Friday we headed inland as a group to spend the weekend camping somewhere east of Corvallis (I still don’t exactly know where we were, all I cared about was that it was hot enough to wear a tank top and shorts- finally). We spent some quality time together setting up camp- shout out to Julia for always sharing her tent, chillin in the creek, and eating around the camp fire. I think we all learned new details about each other, which is always cool when you’re dealing with people who come from all different backgrounds. The highlight of the trip was on Saturday, when we took the highly anticipated hike to the Tamolitch blue pool. It was way overpopulated for my taste, but at first sight of the water I understood why. Crystal clear and intensely blue, the pool sat below a series of cliffs perfect for plunging into the freezing and astonishingly deep water below. Some scholars partook in the 70 ft jump in the 30-something degrees fahrenheit water, I however opted for the quick leap off the edge and scramble out as quickly as possible. Though beautiful, that water was bitchin cold. But I’m glad to say I did it, as did all but one of the other scholars.
Getting back into the work week after an exciting and tiring weekend wasn’t easy, but on Monday we packed up and head out to Tillamook to run unmanned aerial system (UAS) surveys of the tide flats the next morning. The UAS consists of a UAV (we don’t use “drone” but, yeah a drone) that has been programmed with a flight plan and fitted with a camera. There’s a lot more background that goes into the flight plan, like the type of camera, the height the vehicle will fly at, etc, but this is not my forte. My job was to assist the ground team with setting ground control points and recording their gps positions. The vehicle flies over these points for scaling purposes and to later on put all of the images together to form one solid view. We also did assessments of quads within the flight path, since the whole point of the day was to compare human surveys with what the drone’s image captures. If the UAS surveys can be as efficient as having people on the ground, using this method could save a lot of man hours (aka money) and potentially help the crew avoid safety risks associated with working in mud and on the water.
After returning from Tillamook I rejoined Joe and Scott in Charleston to begin planning a quantitative and qualitative survey of the native Olympia oysters, Ostrea lurida, around Coos Bay. There had been previous work done for quantitative measurements, with methods in place for estimating abundance at a site. What I am now more involved with is the qualitative methods for being able to walk onto a site and quickly assign it a ranking, with the ranks signifying varying abundances of oysters. Together Scott, Joe and I discussed the best way to go about this in a timely manner, since we had decided to do about 100 sites, and I have been tasked with writing up the methods section. I am excited at the idea of possible getting mentioned in a publication of this study. Here we are searching for the oysters on their most common habitat, rip rap:
This past weekend included a trip to Crater Lake but that deserves more attention than a mention at the bottom of this post.
With that, I sign off.
Can’t believe its already almost August!