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Archive for Maryna Sedoryk

Foggy Adventures in Tillamook

Posted by: | August 19, 2012 | 1 Comment |

This week marked the end of my time in Tillamook helping with the subtidal survey. Just like many of the other projects I have helped with, just because I am leaving doesn’t mean the sampling is done and the team will have to round up some volunteers to fill my place for the rest of the sampling days. Nobody seems too excited about that, to say the least.

This week in Tillamook turned out very different than my previous visits, mostly due to some thick fog causing problems. We quickly found out that fog, main channel sites, divers, and safety don’t mix. Nobody was hurt, or even close to getting injured, but we were kept on our toes by constantly peering through the mist trying to make out were other boats where in relation to our divers.

The week started out really great. On Monday it was “warm” and the sites were short and sandy. We ended up getting a whopping 16 done by about noon so once the wind picked up we called it a day and headed in. It was strange to be done sampling and measuring at 3pm because normally we have been out working until 4-5pm. After we all had a little time to ourselves, my coworkers and I went to a nearby blueberry u-pick and got a ton of super delicious berries. Standing out in the sun among the rows of berries was very relaxing but made me miss my garden back at school. I only got 1/4 of a flat because I was unsure I could eat all the berries before I need to leave in a week. I’d never had fresh blueberries before and I was very surprised at how different they are from store-bought blueberries (something I have never been a huge fan of). After picking blueberries, everyone (including the divers!) went out to dinner to celebrate my coworker Natalies birthday. It was fun to chat with everyone outside of work and we finally got to know the divers a little better.

The rest of the week was a little crazier. The fog rolled in right about the time we started sampling which made the whole situation a tad stressful. We were in the middle of the main channel that runs from Garibaldi harbor to the ocean and our samples were taking longer than the day before. After we got a few “yahoos” speed by us in the fog (a little too close for comfort) we decided to stick to the edges of the channel while the fog was around. It helped a little, but some people still were going around really fast and didn’t really know where they were going.  The current and wind picked up a lot around 12pm again so we had to call the day early. The last site we did was so difficult because of the current that the divers had to stop halfway through to change tanks. By the time they got back it was obvious that we were not anchored and had dragged the dredge and sample ring around in the water so we couldn’t continue on that site. We only got 10 samples that day, which is much less than the 13-15 we have been getting in Tillamook.

Wednesday was another foggy day but we were prepared with lights and airhorns from the beginning  and stayed on the edges of the channel. There were still yahoos running around and making us pay close attention to our surroundings. After we set a few points on the chase boat we got a call from the dredge boat that someone had stolen our gas can overnight. but because they had already left the docks they would rather get started on the points with the gas they still had in the motor. So the chase boat went back to the docks and began our search for a gas can. We checked the marina store: nope; we checked the closest gas station: nope; the only other gas station: yep, but only a 2 gallon can. We got that because it was better than nothing then headed to the last place in Garibaldi, the single grocery store. They also had a 2-gallon can but it was more expensive so we kept the one we had. We then returned to the marina to get marine grade gas (can’t have ethanol) and headed back out. The rest of the day went much like tuesday: lots of fog, high currents, and a quick wind pickup. We finally called it a day when the divers were obviously having a tough time keeping the dredge in one spot due to the current. One of our safety protocols is that the divers can at any time decide to stop based on the conditions in the water. While they didn’t directly tell us the current was too strong, it was apparent they were having a lot of trouble so we called it for their sake even though it was only 11am.

Thursday and Friday I had off (yay 4 day weekend!) so I went to Cape Perpetua and hiked around. Unfortunately the fog obscured my view but it was a nice walk nonetheless. I also made a blackberry pie for some interns that left this weekend. I have also been spending a lot of time working on my presentation because this coming week I have 2 more days of fieldwork before I get some time in the office to work on it with Tony. Hopefully I’ll get enough done before then that those 2 days won’t be too hectic.

under: Maryna Sedoryk, Summer Scholars

This week was much the same as last week: lots of intertidal dredging. On Monday and Tuesday I wasn’t on the boat but I went to measure the samples when the boat team returned to the office. On Wednesday and Thursday I was out on the boat nearly all day. Its really tough to stay in a dry suit that on because after about 5 hours you start getting sweaty and the inside of the suit (which is made to not allow the transfer of moisture) gets really sticky and uncomfortable.

Last week we did dredging on Bridge flat, which is all sand. This week we dredged at Sally’s Bend, which is a huge mud flat, and boy did it make a difference. In case you weren’t aware, mud is much stickier than sand. And this made it much more difficult to get our samples. It generally took 25-35 minutes for each site on Sally’s Bend compared to 10-20 minutes for sites on Bridge Flat. It also took much longer to sort the mud out of the samples and we had to rinse the bag in the water every few minutes. Luckily it was pretty warm out on the days I was out sampling so sitting in the cold water that long wasn’t terrible.

On Friday we finished measuring clams and then prepped gear for our next (and my last) excursion to Tillamook. We will be there until Wednesday night, and beyond that I’m not sure what the week will bring. Hopefully some time off to relax!

This week I also met with Robert Allen, the Director of Student Development for the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at OSU. We chatted about what direction I have been moving with my degree and what my plans are for the next year and beyond. It was really great to hear I have been doing well and that I don’t need to rush off to graduate school if I am not ready. He also recommended taking some time off (if I want to) and do something really awesome. He mentioned Peace Corps and Teach for America, among other options. I feel much better now about how I am going to spend my final year of school preparing for the future.

This weekend I made a quick run up to Seattle with Kate, Hilary, and Diana. Kate and I left on Friday after work and met Hilary and Diana up there. We went to the Aquarium, Pike Place, and rode the ferry. We also briefly stopped in Portland on our way back. I wish I had more time to explore these places!

I’ve also been working hard trying to get my presentation into shape. Its rather frightening that I have a mere 2 weeks left before I have to make the trek home to California and prepare for my last fall quarter. And because I know that I’ll be doing lots of fieldwork in the meantime, I wanted to get started as soon as possible. Here’s a sneak preview of one of my slides as it is now. Hopefully next week I will have pictures of dredging and my last days in Tillamook.

under: Maryna Sedoryk, Summer Scholars

This week we started the second phase of the Yaquina Bay intertidal population study. If you think way back to the first week I was here in Newport, you might remember that I had to wake up really early to do RAM surveys. We took sediment samples, temperature readings, and counted the visible clam siphon holes at random points in different sand/mud flats in the Bay. Now we are going back to these same locations and dredging them to find out exactly how many clams are at each site.

Intertidal dredging is very similar to the subtidal dredging we have been doing, except we get to dredge this time, not divers. Surprisingly, the system is pretty easy to use and the most difficult part seems to be staying in one place when holding the bag end of the dredge. Because of the air in my drysuit a lot of times I just start floating away. Luckily we can only sample when the water isn’t very high (between 2 and 3 feet) so I can get myself back in the right spot fairly quickly.

To work the intertidal dredge requires 3 people: 1 person mans the dredge and sucks up the sediment/clams, 1 person mans the bag and makes sure that the bag doesn’t get clogged and that sediment/water isn’t going towards the dredge head, and the final person is on the boat manning the motor and sorting samples.

I very quickly learned how to do all 3, but I think it was very helpful that I already has indirect experience from all the subtidal work we have done. I was familiar with the data sheets and how the dredge system as a whole worked, so I only needed to learn the exact method of how to use the dredge in the water – and how to efficiently move around in a bulky dry suit.

Next week is more dredging, and at the end of the week we will prep for yet another week of work in Tillamook  – and you thought I was done! hah!

While not out doing fieldwork (we can only dredge a few hours at a time during low tide), I have started a new data analysis project. This will incorporate the historical data I entered over the last few weeks, and some of the data we have been getting this summer. Hopefully I will be able to incorporate all of this together in a cohesive way so I have something to add to my presentation other than 15 slides of our various projects and methods. But don’t get too excited, it will probably just be comparisons of size frequency and abundance. I also don’t think I will have time to run any statistical analysis so I won’t be able to say whether any of the trends we see are significant or not.

During my free time, I have been attempting to enjoy the decent weather we have been having in Newport by surfing a lot, playing beach volleyball, and watching LOTS of Olympics. I feel like all the students here have really started to get along well, and it is a shame we only have 3 short weeks left before we all must continue our journeys elsewhere. Until next time!

 

under: Maryna Sedoryk, Summer Scholars

And on to the next one

Posted by: | July 29, 2012 | No Comment |

The NOAA dock subtidal project is officially complete! On Thursday we finished our last 10 sites in Sally’s Bend in no time at all. We were only out on the water until about 11am! Even with measuring clams, we finished in under 8 hours that day, which was really surprising given all the difficulties we had the last time we were out diving in the Yaquina. Its a wonderful feeling to say that during the time I have been working in Newport an entire field project was completed, even if it was a short project.

The rest of this week was spent cleaning up from our Tillamook work (cleaning out the boats, temporarily stashing our equipment, etc) and catching up with office work. I thought bring in the office would a nice change of pace, but compared to the action-packed fieldwork I normally do, sitting in the office started getting old quickly.

Over the past few weeks, I have been slowly entering historical subtidal data from Tillamook Bay surveys. This has been my “go-to” task during the few times we weren’t out doing fieldwork. There is data from the 1975, 1976, 1977, 1985, and 1986 subtidal studies done in Tillamook Bay. There is data on where the transects/stations were located, how many and what type of clams were found at each station, and for most years, the length and weight measurements for the Bay Clams (Butter, Gaper, Littleneck, Cockle).

This week I basically finished entering the data and I just need to get it all looked over by Tony or Stacy to make sure the formatting is correct. Because we have already done a lot of work in Tillamook, I started noticing some difference between the data we have been collecting and the older data. The biggest difference is the sheer number of clams we are finding. Surprisingly, many of the samples we have collected this summer seem to have a much higher density of clams. However, in the past the highest densities belonged to Butter and Native Littlenecks. Presently we are finding A LOT of Butters, but very few Littlenecks. The clams we are finding seem to be in the same average size range as the ones collected in the past. This, of course, is based on what I noticed and can remember, and I can’t say what is or isn’t significant. That type of in-depth analysis can only happen in the winter once the Tillamook study is completed. And speaking of Tillamook, I have pictures!

Tillamook scenery

A full sample bag, yet to be sorted

A Butter clam with a tight grip on the leg of a Dungeness crab

This coming week is going to be a new adventure, as we are going to start intertidal dredging in the Yaquina, sometimes called “Megacoring”. All I know is that my first day is Tuesday and I have to wear a drysuit and learn to use a dredge pump that is slightly smaller than the one we used to get the subtidal samples. I am very excited to learn how to do this, but also a little nervous as I have never had to work in a drysuit before, much less use a dredge pump. But that is what this summer is all about, right?

 

under: Maryna Sedoryk, Summer Scholars

Adventures in Tillamook, part 2

Posted by: | July 23, 2012 | No Comment |

Good news! I am back in Newport for the next 3 weeks!
I got back from Tillamook on Thursday afternoon, just in time to go to Corvallis on Friday morning for the Sea Grant Scholars mid-summer check-in. We got to hear an update from all the other scholars and got a tour of the Salmon disease Lab. I really enjoyed hearing from all the other scholars, especially the ones that aren’t staying at the Hatfield. I also really loved seeing the salmon disease lab, as I have done volunteer work back home with salmon. This lab was way bigger than the one I am used to! I also volunteered at DaVinci Days which was super fun, though at times I felt like I wasn’t completely prepared to explain the multitude of props at the tables. But we made it work, and people really seemed to like the watershed model.

I’m sure you’re dying to hear about my last week in Tillamook after the crazy day we had on Wednesday (see my Misadventures post…). So here we go.

After 7 full days of diving in Tillamook bay over the past 2 weeks we completed 89 sites – almost 20 more than we initially set out to complete. I think this is because the divers we have are extremely efficient and have experience diving in a variety of conditions. Even with a very strong incoming tide, they said it wasn’t a problem to continue working.
Because of our rapid completion of sites, Tony (my mentor, and the project leader) and Stacy decided to add extra points to sample. We went up from 200 sites to ~240 sites to sample for the entire field season. They did this in order to maximize the data we are able to collect with the divers. The way the contract works, we are allowed to dive for a total of 20 days – and that is all. So if we move quickly it is better to use our extra time to sample more sites and get more data.
After the NOAA dive days, the rest of us have also gotten very efficient at setting/pulling anchors and sorting the samples that the divers bring up for us.  One interesting thing about the dives was the diversity of sediment type in the channels. There were spots with lots of broken shell fragments (shell hash), coarse sand, eelgrass, and woody debris. Generally the locations with eelgrass and shell hash had the most amount of clams – we often had 2 full bags of unsorted material plus a bag half full of clams that were hand picked by the divers. The coarse sandy areas had few to no clams, and woody debris generally had a few small clams and crabs. At the end of the day we often had literally hundreds of clams to measure. Fortunately between the 6 of us it would usually take no more than an hour and a half to get them all weighed and measured.

Today we also got to watch a video of the divers working with the dredge from Tillamook. Tony recently bought a wide angle, low-light, underwater video camera to give to the divers so we can watch how they use the dredge equipment and help them fix any problems if necessary. It was really neat to see them pulling all the clams out of the sediment but I can’t imagine how difficult it  must have be to dive down there. Even with the low-light camera it was really murky!

Here’s picture of a bucket full of clams (one day we had about 5 buckets full) and a picture of a bag that had been sorted (notice the red rock crab!).

Now that i’m back in Newport, you would think that we’d be done with this diving stuff. But not so fast! If you think back a few weeks to the NOAA dive, you might recall that we were unable to finish all of our sites. So this week we will be back out in the Yaquina to finish up our work here. After that we will have a few office days to catch up with all the data entry that has stacked up from the last few weeks. And after that is intertidal dredging! But I will have to explain all that in a future post.

 

under: Maryna Sedoryk, Summer Scholars

Misadventures in Tillamook

Posted by: | July 18, 2012 | 1 Comment |

Yes, it’s Wednesday – not the usual time for a new post from all us scholars. But today was such a strange day that I felt that it needed it’s own post.

As I mentioned Monday, I’m up in Tillamook Bay doing subtidal clam surveys. Today was a good lesson in what to do when things go wrong.

Some questions that were answered today:

What do you do when the divers’ communicators stop working?
What do you do when the dredge doesn’t sink to the bottom due to a high current?
What do you do when your anchors don’t set because the current is strong?
What do you do when the dive boat suddenly won’t turn on?

and finally,

What do you do when your boat starts taking on water?

Let’s tackle that last one first. Fortunately no one was hurt or got wet, but it was quite a scene. I was on the dredge boat, handing bags to the divers so they could begin our next sample when suddenly we got a call on the radio.

“Hey guys… I mean, Sax to Tresus” (Chase boat)
“Hi ladies, what’s up?” (Stacy, the assistant project leader for SEACOR)
“An anchor pulled out our boat plug and we are taking on water. We are going to the marina.” (Chase boat)

… Panic. Everyone on the dredge boat turned around and we saw our chase boat (the one that sets anchors and point buoys all day), the Saxidomus, speeding away toward the marina.  We then learned that even with their bilge on, one person was still rapidly bailing out water.
While on the radio, Stacy ran through a list of options out loud for them. 1) Could they get the boat trailer in time to get the boat out of the water? – no, they were taking on too much too fast 2) Run the boat aground into the boat launch ramp – the bottom will get scraped up, but as long as the motor and prop is lifted the hull should be okay 3) run onto a mudflat – but it’s hightide and there aren’t many easily available. 4) the divers offered to fix the boat plug, something we hadn’t even considered, but by then the Sax was too far away to be helped by us.
Luckily, the ladies on the Sax had the same idea and went straight to the launch ramp. They had considered the other options as well, but were not positive it was a missing boat plug that was causing the flood of water and wanted to get to shallow ground ASAP.
About 5 minutes later we heard back that everything was okay. Whew. It was a missing boat plug afterall and Natalie was able to reach over the back of the boat and stick one in after getting to the safety of shallow ground.

Comparatively, the rest of our problems today were minor, though they seemed important at the time. The divers ended up pulling on a rope line to signal us; we got the dive boat working and didn’t turn the engine off until we were completely done for the day; we added extra hose and line to the dredge, which added enough weight and length for it to sink down to the bottom; and we had to be extremely conscious of how our anchors were set in the current so as to ensure our boat would not drift while the divers were below us.

All in all, an interesting day. Happy Wednesday, and look out for part 2 of my adventures in Tillamook this coming Monday.

under: Maryna Sedoryk, Summer Scholars

Adventures in Tillamook, Part 1

Posted by: | July 16, 2012 | 1 Comment |

Greetings from Tillamook!

This past week has been quite an experience, to say the least. Remember a few weeks back when I spent 2 days doing subtidal dredge surveys in Yaquina bay around the NOAA dock? Well, I did the same thing in Tillamook Bay this week and I will be continuing for all of this week as well.

While the basic dredge idea is the same as before, we have different divers this time and A LOT more clams. It is a tad ridiculous how many clams we have, actually. Unfortunately we have been too busy on the boats to take many pictures, but I will try to get some this week.

We are doing this subtidal dredge survey to try and get an estimate of clam populations in Tillamook Bay. The SEACOR team has done intertidal population studies for the last 2 summers, and this is the first time they are doing a subtidal study. The recreational clam population was studied back in the 1970s, 1980s, and a general study was done in 1996. This provides us with the unique opportunity of tracking changes in the populations across decades. Its unfortunate I wont be around when the data is analyzed! But I am having a blast getting to see the wide variety of clams in the bay.

Luckily this time around I don’t have to pull up all our point markers and anchors by hand – we bought a pot puller to do most of the hard work for us. This is making a huge difference in my energy level, which is good because we have been averaging 10 hours out on the boat per day. Add on another hour or two measuring all the clams we got and that makes for a very long day, and week!

I spent my one full day off this weekend at the Oregon Country Fair. A huge group from Hatfield went and we had a blast! I really loved seeing all the people dressed up and all the craft booths.

Right after I got back from the fair I went straight back to Tillamook and I will be here until Thursday, so stay tuned next week for part 2!

under: Maryna Sedoryk, Summer Scholars

After spending 3 days this week digging up gaper clams (Tresus capax) to weigh and measure, I’d like to think I’m an expert. So here’s a how-to for what I was doing most of the week!

Step 1: Find your clam! Gapers have fairly large siphon holes and you can feel their siphon retract when you stick your finger in the hole (also called a show). They can be found in sandy areas about halfway down the tideflat.

Step 2: Dig it up! Gapers are one of the hardest clams to dig up because the actual clam body is found deep under the sand, sometimes over 2 feet under. My team used a combination of shovels, shrimp guns, and hand digging to get them out. But be careful! Their shells are surprisingly fragile.

Step 3: Measure them! We take a length and a width measurement of the gapers. For length, you start at the siphon edge (the flat edge of the shell on the left in this picture) and travel across the valve (single shell; clams are bivalves, meaning “two shells”) to the longest point. For width, you place the calipers over the umbo – the raised portion where the two valves connect, on the top in the photo- and measure across the widest spot. Finally, you weigh them on a scale.

Easy, yeah? But it’s not as exciting when you have 50+ clams a day to measure, and you don’t even get to eat them.

You are probably curious why we are doing all this digging and measuring in the first place. We want to determine the size/weight distribution of gapers in the Yaquina. We dug up clams in the sand flat under the bridge (Bridge Flat) and the sand/mud flat behind the Hatfield EPA office (Idaho Flat). We noticed right away that there were a lot more gapers in Bridge Flat, but they were smaller than the ones we found in Idaho Flat.

After we were done with the clams, we gave them to a food share here in Newport so they can be eaten by those in need. I was really surprised and happy to see this, as I have a personal interest in our nations food system. There is a lot of food that gets wasted in our country, especially in scientific experiments where things are often frozen and thawed and thus cannot be used for food. I didn’t specifically ask why we couldn’t return them to the bay, but I think it is because these clams live so deep and they wouldn’t be able to dig back down before getting eaten/harmed.

As far as adventurers in Oregon, we had quite a week with the holiday! We had a wonderful potluck on Wednesday and I brought some homemade berry pie. This weekend I rode my bike over the bridge with Kate to the farmers market and then went surfing this afternoon with Hilary and another intern, Liz.

The next 2 weeks at work will be very long, so I apologize in advance if I post at a strange time. I will be doing subtidal dredge work (like last week) in Tillamook from Tuesday to Friday, and again Sunday to Thursday of next week. It will be quite an adventure I think!

Also, because we can’t go “picture crazy” here, I made a separate blog so I can post as many pictures as I want. check it out!  http://travelingtegula.blogspot.com/

 

Until next week, stay classy Oregon Sea Grant…

 

under: Maryna Sedoryk, Summer Scholars

to dredge or not to dredge?

Posted by: | July 1, 2012 | 1 Comment |

… that was the question of the week. And I learned that it is a difficult question to answer.

Dredging is serious business… we had professional divers and everything. Basically there is a pump on a boat, a water intake tube, the dredge head (it sucks up the mud and clams and whatever), and a water discharge head that has the sample bag attached to it. It’s really hard to explain how it works and I don’t have a picture, but all you need to know is that the sediment gets sucked up and thrown out the back, into the mesh sample bag. The bag is later sorted to find the good stuff.

Here’s a picture of some of what we got out of our dredge samples. We found gaper clams, cockles, macoma clams, brittle stars, baby dungeness crabs, and olive snails.

We did subtidal dredging in Yaquina on both Wednesday and Thursday this week, but we only got to 30 of the 40 spots we wanted to sample. The weather and tides were not  cooperative, and the divers had to stop early both days (but we still worked over 8 hours each day!). The whole process really showed me how much the combination of tides and wind and weather can effect the boats and divers. The wind was strong enough to counteract the effect of the tides on the boat; but the outgoing tide was so strong that the divers couldn’t hold the dredge system in place. All of this totally threw off our plan to have a separate boat place anchors before we got to a site, because by the time the dredge boat got to the point, the winds and tide had changed enough to require the anchor to be reset.

So basically all day I was dropping and hauling in anchors and the dredge system. Even with gloves my hands were pretty sore from all that rope!

A little background on why we were dredging for clams in the first place:
Back in 2010 (… I think), the NOAA Pacific Fleet moved from WA to Newport. In order to keep all their giant research vessels here they had to build a huge dock, which disturbed a large area of subtidal clam habitat. My team is studying the long term effect of this disturbance and the recolonization rate of the Gaper clam in the area. This is the 3rd post-construction sampling of the area around the NOAA dock. We also are taking some samples in a subtidal area in Sally’s Bend, an area in Yaquina Bay unaffected by the NOAA dock that can be used as a comparison. This creates a BACI study: Before-After-Control-Impact.

Now we just have to determine when we’ll get our last 10 samples. But until then, I’ll just have to be content digging for more clams in the mud and beach flats this coming week.

~Maryna

 

under: Maryna Sedoryk, Summer Scholars

Hello Oregon, Hello clams!

Posted by: | June 23, 2012 | No Comment |

Boy, has it been a whirlwind first week here at the Hatfield. But before I get into that, here’s a brief introduction to myself and the job I’m doing.

My name is Maryna Sedoryk and I’m from the University of Califronia, Santa Cruz (you may have seen our fighting banana slug mascot, Sammy, around before). This summer I will be working under the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) on the Shellfish and Estuarine Habitat Assessment of Coastal Oregon (SEACOR: pronounced “seeker”) project. Basically we will be doing surveys in the Yaquina Bay to determine the location, abundance, and habitat preferences of recreationally important clams. I’ll also be working on a clam aging study.

So, back to the good stuff. My summer adventure officially began last Friday, June 15, which is the day my mom and I began our ~800 mile journey to Corvallis by car from Monterey, CA. We made a nice trip of it, enjoying the scenery and lots of beaches and state parks over a 2 day trip up the coast.

Monday we had our orientation and I finally got to see Sarah, Eric, and the rest of the Summer Scholars in person. I was really surprised at the diverse group we have. I am the only person from CA, but there are people from Utah, Maryland, and Illinois also! We also learned that a total of 40 students will be living at the Hatfield housing this summer! It will be quite a crowd!

I must admit, I was a little intimidated of what was going to be happening on Tuesday for my first day of work. I got an email on Friday from my mentor telling me to be prepared to be at the office at 5:30am for fieldwork. I liked the idea of having the chance to do fieldwork right away, because that is the fastest way to get a good understanding of what your job is. But I was also dreading that first morning because I would have to show up so early and get to know my team and figure out exactly what we were doing all while wandering around an unfamiliar environment.
Luckily, my colleagues are wonderfully nice and did their best to fill me in as we worked. I eventually figured out the easiest jobs and did those while I tried to figure out how everything else was completed. I spent Tuesday in the sandflats under the bridge, and Thursday in some sticky (…very sticky…) mudflats doing some RAM transects.

RAM=Rapid Assessment Method
RAM is basically the first step in doing the overall clam population study. It involves going to a randomly picked location and taking data such as sediment temperature, sediment type (mud/sand), and the species present for invertebrates, algae, and eelgrass. The whole process takes maybe 15 minutes per site – hence the “rapid”.

On Friday I had some real fun and got to go digging for clams! We were out at 7am (which felt awfully late after 5:30am & 6am start times earlier in the week!) and went to the flat behind the EPA office at Hatfield where we know gaper clams are found.
I have never dug for clams before in my life, so this was completely foreign to me. But eventually with the help of a shrimp gun and some careful digging I was able to pull a few out. I was very surprised at how delicate the shells actually are. I was told at the beginning to be careful with the shrimp gun because the water pressure could break the shell, but I broke a couple shells just from the pressure of my hand digging out the sand/mud! It was definitely a learning experience but I enjoyed sliding around in the mud and getting my hands dirty (and a little scraped up from shell fragments in the mud).

Now that I am more settled here, I’m hoping to have some time to explore the area in my free time. I went to the farmers market this morning with 2 of my housemates and we bought a big pot of herbs to grow and use all summer. Some other things we want to accomplish over the summer: surfing, ukelele, host a clambake, a trip to Seattle/Portland, and I’m sure we will think of more. Maybe we should make a big bucket list and hang it on our fridge… (and I would love recommendations!)

I’ll leave you with a picture of me with one of the gapers I dug up on Friday morning, this one with it’s shell intact.

 

 

~Maryna

 

under: Maryna Sedoryk, Summer Scholars

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