Reflections from this year’s 27th Annual Markham Research Symposium

Allison Dawn, GEMM Lab Master’s student, OSU Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Sciences, Geospatial Ecology of Marine Megafauna Lab 

The 27th Annual Markham Research Symposium was hosted at the Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) last week. During the event, students who have been awarded funds and scholarships through HMSC present their research via poster presentations or 5-minute “ignite” talks. Given how isolated and mostly remote academic events have been during the COVID pandemic, it was invigorating to have an in-person research event. The timing of the symposium was also strategically planned to occur during the first week of Hatfield’s REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) students’ arrival, and it felt special to have such a diversity of ages and career stages coming together to discuss science. While I was certainly expecting to have good conversations about research and receive feedback on my work, I was most surprised by how much this event inspired me to reflect on my first year as a graduate student. For this week’s blog I’d like to share some of these reflections I had while listening to the excellent keynote address and interacting with students during the poster session.

The symposium began with a keynote address by Dr. Elizabeth Perotti who identifies as a scientist, communicator, and a parent. Dr. Perotti works as the Education and Outreach Coordinator for NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program (OAP). I was expecting to hear a 45-minute presentation on the latest ocean acidification efforts, but I was surprised and appreciated that Dr. Perotti spent her time mainly focused on discussing career development through the lens of her own winding career path. While I would have been equally excited to hear about her science communication and outreach work, I am glad she took the time to share her story and give advice based on her experiences. As someone who used to feel insecure about my non-linear path to science, it was validating and inspiring to hear about the variety of experiences that prepared her to take on her current position at NOAA. Dr. Perotti describes her career path as “clear as mud”, but acknowledged that there were several key mentors who helped her identify and shape her specific interests. 

One of those mentors was the late Dr. Marian Diamond, who is renowned for her work on brain plasticity research. She was the first female science professor at Cornell and is considered one of the founders of modern neuroscience. She and her team pioneered the idea that the brain can change, and even improve, with the right stimulation. Dr. Diamond was the first person to study Einstein’s brain in the hopes of uncovering the secret to his high intelligence. She found that Einstein’s brain had more glial cells (which are now sometimes called “genius cells”) than the average person. These glial cells are known to nourish strong neuron connections and build a more complex brain structure. Dr. Diamond hypothesized that Einstein’s brain had more of these cells due to the high stimulation he put on his neurons. From the synthesis of this study and other fascinating experiments during her life’s work, Dr. Diamond suggested five core things the brain needs to continue development, regardless of age: diet, exercise, challenges, newness, and love. A healthy diet fuels the brain, exercise builds better brain cells, challenges and newness stimulate brain function, and love enriches our lives  – each of these factors are shown to contribute to the neuroplasticity of our brains (Diamond, 2001). During the keynote, Dr. Perotti asked the audience to contemplate if they are pursuing a career that is fulfilling at least one of those core requirements. As I contemplated these “brain essentials”, I realized how my experience as a Master’s student in the GEMM lab actually fulfills each one of these, and I am excited by the science that suggests I may be producing more “genius cells” because of it! 

Figure 1: Illustration showing Dr. Diamond’s suggested 5 core essentials for a healthy brain. Taken from: ​​https://blog.stannah-stairlifts.com/society/marian-diamond-women-in-science/

First, the diet I’ve had over the past year has certainly been nurturing. During the field season in Port Orford, one of my favorite meals is when we are given locally-sourced and sustainably caught fish from Port Orford Sustainable Seafood in exchange for helping them process orders. When I am back in Newport and Corvallis, my lab mates and peers are always sharing homemade snacks and we frequently get together for meals (and when the weather is nice – picnics!)

Figures 2 & 3: To the left: Locally sourced salmon cooked by Lisa Hildebrand for one of the many 2021 Port Orford team dinners; To the right: Colorful plates on an impromptu sunny day picnic with Rachel Kaplan. 

For exercise – it almost goes without saying that the field season in Port Orford is physically demanding. During data collection we are constantly alert and on our feet on the cliff site, or paddling continuously to stay on station to obtain good zooplankton and oceanographic samples.

Figure 4: Lisa Hildebrand and A. Dawn enjoying one of the last days of kayak sampling for the 2021 Port Orford field season.

Challenges – there are a variety of challenges to face as a new graduate student. Not only are there difficult, yet exciting questions to tackle, and new analysis skills to learn, but as Dr. Perotti discussed in her talk, there are also soft skills (communication, time/conflict management, task prioritization) that I am sharpening, which are equally important to master. 

Newness – as a graduate student, almost everything feels new. I frequently feel I am out of my comfort zone. Especially during the past three terms, I find myself in the mental “growth zone” consistently. Between my coursework and getting to attend exciting seminars, I consistently learn something new on a daily basis. Despite having completed a field season last year, leading the team this year will also be new, and I anticipate a steep learning curve where I am excited to learn how to be a better scientist and mentor.

Lastly, the love I have experienced since starting my Master’s degree has been one of my most treasured aspects of my life here – love for my lab family and for the opportunity I have to be here. After the symposium I got together with a few lab mates and we journeyed to Nye Beach to watch the sunset. I appreciate that despite our busy schedules, we all make time to connect with each other and explore the beautiful coast we are privileged to call home.

Figure 5: Watching the sunset on Nye Beach never gets old, especially when you are with good friends. Photo credit: C. Bird.

Just as I incorrectly assumed the keynote would be solely research focused, I anticipated answering in-depth questions about my preliminary Master’s thesis analysis results at the poster session. While I did receive great questions and valuable feedback from mentors, which has already helped shape the next steps in my analysis, the interactions I had with the REU student cohort was very different. These budding scientists were more interested in my personal outlook on graduate school, and asked many questions that felt familiar to me. I let the undergraduates know that it was only a year ago that I graduated with my B.S., and shared many of those same, daunting questions about the next chapter of my career: “How do you know if a program is right for you?”, “How do you pick the right advisor?”, “What type of working environment should I be looking for?”. It was fulfilling to be able to echo the great advice Dr. Perotti gave during the keynote address, in which she encouraged students to find mentors, know their talents, learn how to communicate, and take a challenge.

Figure 6: Posing next to my Markam Symposium poster, excited to share my proposed research with peers and mentors. Photo credit: Lisa Hildebrand

I am extremely grateful to have received one of this year’s Mamie Markham awards, and for the opportunity to interact with younger career scientists who I can share my journey and experiences with. The symposium was good practice in communicating my work and stimulating food for thought as I move forward with my second year in graduate school.

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References

Diamond, Marian (2001) Successful Aging of the Healthy Brain. Conference of the American Society on Aging and The National Council on the Aging March 10, 2001, New Orleans, LA

Shifts in planktonic community composition due to marine heatwaves (MHWs)

Allison Dawn, GEMM Lab Master’s student, OSU Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Sciences, Geospatial Ecology of Marine Megafauna Lab

As the first year of my Master’s is coming to an end, I am excited to have completed the first milestone of writing my research proposal. During the formation of my initial hypotheses, I have been thinking deeply about the potential drivers of zooplankton variability, and how these metrics relate to the Pacific Coast Feeding Group (PCFG) of gray whales foraging in Port Orford. One topic that continues to appear in the literature and throughout my coursework is that of the extreme marine heat wave (MHW) event (2013-2016) in the Pacific Ocean, otherwise known as the “warm blob”. In Dawn’s (now Dr. Barlow!) blog about this MHW, she discusses how whale habitat in California was compressed due to shifts in prey availability, and how this led to an increased number of whale entanglements (Santora et al., 2020). While sea surface temperature (SST) is only one of many factors that influence prey metrics, it is nevertheless an important factor to consider, especially as these heat waves are expected to increase in intensity and duration due to climate change (Joh and Di Lorenzo, 2017). As Lisa mentioned in her last blog, the “warm blob” exacerbated the loss of kelp and sea stars, which is now impacting multiple trophic levels in Port Orford. For my first thesis chapter, I plan to dive into how SST anomalies impact the mosaic of interactions at our study site in Port Orford, and ultimately try to better understand food availability for the PCFG whales.

Cavole et al., 2016 is one of the early comprehensive studies to discuss the impact of the blob on a variety of planktonic marine species. Their sea surface temperature anomaly figure (Figure 1) shows where the anomaly began in 2013 and how it migrated from the Northern Pacific to the Southern Pacific coast.

Figure 1. Plots showing the SST anomalies as the “warm blob” migrated from the Northern Pacific to the Southern Pacific from 2013 until 2016.

Among many other impacts, this MHW caused a reduction in phytoplankton, the major food source for zooplankton. The decline of this food source subsequently caused significant changes in zooplankton populations. Specifically, studies on copepod diversity and biomass show that in a typical California Current System (CCS) there is a seasonal oscillation between warm-water with subtropical species and cold-water with subarctic species. In the winter, the CCS is characterized by a high diversity of subtropical species, due to a southern water source. In the spring, northern cold water advection brings low-diversity, subarctic copepods. While the timing of these shifts is subject to change due to changes in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), it remains that these subtropical copepod species are known to be smaller and less nutritious than subarctic copepod species regardless of arrival time (Kintisch, 2015; Leising et al., 2015). However, in 2015, this shift to cold water copepod species did not occur, but rather coastal sampling along the Oregon coast saw subtropical copepod species prevail. Specifically, there were 17 main subtropical copepod species that dominated the species composition while the nutrient-rich arctic species were rare. This occurrence of major copepod shifts alone points to the overall concern for the ecosystem imbalance, to the detriment of top predators like marine mammals and seabirds (the “losers”), and others gaining advantage (the “winners”) (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Figure showing the “losers” (right column) and “winners” (left column) of MHW impacts. Species are organized by trophic level, with top predators at the bottom. Taken from Cavole et al., 2016.

More recent studies found that in certain areas, impacts from the “warm blob” outlived the duration of the larger scale anomaly. In fact, large, positive SST anomalies have lingered on the Oregon shelf until at least September 2017 (Peterson et al., 2017). During this time period, anomalously high abundances of nearshore larval North Pacific krill (Euphausia pacifica) were collected off of the Newport Hydrographic Station (Morgan et al., 2019). Additionally, Brodeur et al. (2019) demonstrate that while indicator species in the nearshore have consistent annual variability, there were substantial differences between community composition between 2011-2014 (low diversity) and 2015-2016 (high diversity). This work also documented the shift from crustacean species (like krill and mysids) to more low-quality gelatinous taxa. As the authors acknowledge, this change in prey community assemblage could have major negative impacts on trophic interactions. This is especially true in the context of whales, as they are not known to rely on gelatinous taxa for energy.

Just like our summer sampling in Port Orford, these studies only provide a “snapshot” of plankton species abundance and composition during a particular time of year. However, even a snapshot can reveal significant changes in prey variability, which then may help us understand the drivers of PCFG habitat utilization. We are actively investigating whether there have been significant changes in the variability of several zooplankton metrics (abundance, distribution, size class, composition) relative to SST changes in Port Orford over the last 6 years (2016-2021).

We will also consider multiple other static and dynamic factors that could influence zooplankton patterns (e.g., upwelling strength, kelp health, tidal height, topography); however, given these documented strong relationships between the zooplankton community and SST across the North Pacific, we hypothesize similar impacts in our Port Orford study region. For example, in certain sampling years, net tows seemed to be comprised of smaller size classes of zooplankton than usual. We will consider how size class availability has changed and if this was driven by SST variability. Gray whales are drawn to this area for enhanced feeding opportunities, and understanding the drivers of zooplankton, especially high quality prey, is a key step to understanding whale use of the area.

Please stay tuned for more updates as we continue working towards the answer to these pressing questions!

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References

Brodeur, R. D., Auth, T. D., & Phillips, A. J. (2019). Major shifts in pelagic micronekton and macrozooplankton community structure in an upwelling ecosystem related to an unprecedented marine heatwave. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6, 212.

Cavole, L. M., Demko, A. M., Diner, R. E., Giddings, A., Koester, I., Pagniello, C. M., … & Franks, P. J. (2016). Biological impacts of the 2013–2015 warm-water anomaly in the Northeast Pacific: winners, losers, and the future. Oceanography, 29(2), 273-285.

Joh, Y., & Di Lorenzo, E. (2017). Increasing coupling between NPGO and PDO leads to prolonged marine heatwaves in the Northeast Pacific. Geophysical Research Letters, 44(22), 11-663.

Kintisch, E. (2015). ‘The Blob’ invades Pacific, flummoxing climate experts.

​​Leising, A. W., Schroeder, I. D., Bograd, S. J., Abell, J., Durazo, R., Gaxiola-Castro, G., … & Warybok, P. (2015). State of the California Current 2014-15: Impacts of the Warm-Water” Blob”. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations Reports, 56.

Morgan, C. A., Beckman, B. R., Weitkamp, L. A., & Fresh, K. L. (2019). Recent ecosystem disturbance in the Northern California current. Fisheries, 44(10), 465-474.

NOAA Fisheries. 2015b. California Current Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (CCIEA) State of the California Current Report, 2015. NMFS Report 2.
Santora, J. A., Mantua, N. J., Schroeder, I. D., Field, J. C., Hazen, E. L., Bograd, S. J., … & Forney, K. A. (2020). Habitat compression and ecosystem shifts as potential links between marine heatwave and record whale entanglements. Nature communications, 11(1), 1-12.

Weighing-in on scale

Allison Dawn, GEMM Lab Master’s student, OSU Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Sciences, Geospatial Ecology of Marine Megafauna Lab 

As the first term of my master’s program comes to an end and we head toward winter break, I am excited by the course material that has already helped direct my research and development as a scientist. There have been new, challenging topics to tackle, and each assignment has fostered deeper thinking into the formation of my thesis. While I learned new methods and analysis approaches this term, a single phrase pervades throughout my studies of ecology – “it depends!”. Ecologists work to uncover patterns driven by natural processes, and this single phrase seems to answer many questions about whether the pattern always exists. A reasonable follow up to that frequently used phrase is, “depends on what?” or “when or where would this pattern change?” In the context of foraging ecology, predator-prey patterns are frequently driven by environmental processes that depend on the scale you choose for your study. 

What do we mean by scale? Simply stated, scale is a graduation from one level of measurement to another. You can imagine a ruler, for example. You can measure how tall you are in inches with a ruler or in yards with a yard stick. When we think about scale in ecology, the “ruler” can have traditional units of space (meters, kilometers, etc.), units of time (minutes, days, hours, months, years, etc.), or sometimes both!  

The ocean is dynamic and heterogeneous, which simply means there is a lot going on at once. Oceanographic processes influence predator-prey interactions but due to the inherent variability in the system, it is important to explore which factors drive processes that influence patterns at different spatial and temporal scales.  

In marine ecology, the “explanatory power” of a factors’ influence on a given process depends on which scale you choose to build your research upon. Ocean ecosystems are hierarchical, with patterns happening at many temporal and spatial scales all at once. So, we could choose to study the same predator-prey interactions at the scale of meters and minutes or 100s of km and months, and we would likely find very different drivers of patterns. The topic of scale is particularly relevant in regard to whale foraging, as marine mammals employ different sensory methods to locate prey at different spatial scales (Torres 2017). 

Among the first papers to conduct multi-scale research on whale foraging was Jaquet and Whitehead, 1996. Here, they studied sperm whale distribution in relation to various physical and environmental variables. Analysis showed that the main drivers of sperm whale distribution were secondary productivity (e.g., bacteria and zooplankton), underwater topography, and the gradient between deep water and surface water productivity. However, these drivers had a different impact depending on the spatial scale. There was no correlation between the drivers and sperm whale distribution at small scales < 320 nautical miles. However, at large scales >= 320 nautical miles, female sperm whale distribution was correlated with high secondary productivity and steep underwater topography. These important findings demonstrate that small scale distribution of prey alone does not drive the distribution of sperm whale predators in this study region, while other factors contribute to predator movement.  

Figure 1. Figure reproduced from Jaquet & Whitehead, 1996. Plots show how the Spearman correlation results between sperm whale density and environmental variables change across multiple spatial scales. (A) Prey distribution, (B) distance to shore and bathymetric contour, and (C) the three main environmental drivers (secondary productivity, topography, and the deep water productivity gradient). 

Ten years later, a study on Mediterranean fin whales tackled a similar question of how interactions between prey and predator change at multiple scales. However, their work investigated responses to both spatial and temporal scale changes. Through spatial modeling relative to oceanographic factors, Cotté et al. 2009 found that at a large-scale (year and ocean basin-wide), fin whales demonstrated two distinct distribution patterns: in the summer they were aggregated, and in the winter they were more dispersed. However, at the meso-scale (weeks -months, and 20-100 km) fin whale fidelity switched to colder, saltier waters with steeper topography and temperature gradients. Based on these results, the authors concluded that at the large scale, whale movement was driven by annually persistent prey abundance. At smaller scales, prey aggregations are less predictable, thus the authors suggest that whale movement at the meso-scale is driven by physical processes, such as frontal zones and strong currents.  

Figure 2. Figure reproduced from Cotté et. al 2009. Map shows Mediterranean fin whale distribution against oceanographic conditions. Color gradient indicates sea surface temperature (SST), fin whale observations shown in white and red circles, black arrows show current direction, with inset temperature/salinity diagram for September 28-30th 2006. 

A key takeaway from these papers is that it is important to investigate how processes and responses can vary at different scales, because results can sometimes depend on the time and space measurement applied in the analysis. For my thesis, I will explore which drivers take a front seat role in gray whale foraging at both fine and meso-scales. I am interested to compare my results on the relationships between PCFG gray whales and their zooplankton prey to the results from the above described studies. Stay tuned for more updates! 

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References: 

Cotté, C., Guinet, C., Taupier-Letage, I., Mate, B., & Petiau, E. (2009). Scale-dependent habitat use by a large free-ranging predator, the Mediterranean fin whale. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 56(5), 801-811. 

Jaquet, N., & Whitehead, H. (1996). Scale-dependent correlation of sperm whale distribution with environmental features and productivity in the South Pacific. Marine ecology progress series, 135, 1-9. 

​​Torres, L. G. (2017). A sense of scale: Foraging cetaceans’ use of scale‐dependent multimodal sensory systems. Marine Mammal Science, 33(4), 1170-1193.

Team “Heck Yeah!” – Updates from the 2021 Port Orford Gray Whale Foraging Ecology Project

By Allison Dawn, Master’s student, OSU Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Sciences, Geospatial Ecology of Marine Megafauna Lab

Part 1: Team “Heck Yeah!”

Allison, inspecting a prey sample from the morning’s in situ collection:

Look! It’s dungeness crab larvae.

Damien, squinting to see the tiny megalopa floating in the water:

Oh, heck yeah!

This simple exchange is just a snapshot of the shared excitement the 2021 Port Orford project interns and I have felt since we have arrived at the field station. Whether it was the first time we set up the theodolite correctly, watched our first GoPro footage of the water column, or when we jumped from the dinner table to grab the camera after Lisa spotted a whale foraging in Mill Rocks – this year’s team is full of enthusiasm. Thus, I’m excited to introduce you all to the 2021 summer field team name: Team “Heck Yeah!”.

While the name is unconventional, the phrase “heck yeah” is not just an exclamation we use when excited. We also use it when we know a task will be a challenge to learn, like staying within the correct GPS position for kayak sampling stations during windy conditions. We know some tasks will be difficult, but we now say “heck yeah!” to meet challenges with a focused, positive determination. This positivity in the face of challenges is a great skill to have, especially because these first two weeks have been one steep learning curve for all of us.

If you read my previous blog, you know that I (Allison) am taking over leadership of the Port Orford project next summer. On top of learning the important day-to-day data collection tasks along with the interns, I have also been learning from Lisa how to lead this project. I am very grateful to have her here to guide me, as I have been able to witness that even when you are a seasoned project leader (this is Lisa’s 4th year!) curve balls can and do happen. It has been great to watch as she has adapted to each unexpected challenge so far, and I am learning first-hand how to best prepare for the Port Orford field season – preparation that includes expecting the unexpected.

Before I discuss in more detail the adaptations we have made and what we are seeing so far in the field, I would like to introduce the interns that comprise our JASPER program this year. Adaptability is a key skill to have when dealing with the unexpected, and after two weeks of training in abnormally windy conditions, Team “Heck Yeah!” is ready for this field season. Though it has only been two weeks, I already feel confident it will continue to be a great season and am grateful to have each one of them aboard our team.

Part 2: The 2021 Port Orford Gray Whale Foraging Ecology Team

First, I would like to introduce Jasen White. Jasen is a first generation, non-traditional undergraduate student at Oregon State University. He is a senior majoring in Fisheries and Wildlife Science and has a passion for spatial ecology and resource management. His professional management background in the U.S. Navy combined with his technical skill set has made him a great addition to the team. He has proven to be dependable and has already brought some new ideas to the project, from handling/maintaining gear to task efficiency. While we have yet to see many whales, Jasen is most looking forward to honing his theodolite skills. As we all have learned, theodolite tracking is more involved than simply looking through a scope. I appreciate the motivation he and the other interns have to become experts in each task.

Figure 1. Jasen photographing “Moby Dick”, a PCFG whale familiar to the GEMM lab, who was spotted foraging near the jetty. Port Orford, OR. July 2021.

The next member of our intern team is Nadia Leal. Nadia is also an undergraduate at OSU and is majoring in Marine Mammal Biology and minoring in Marine Conservation Management. She is an aspiring conservation biologist and moved all the way from Nevada to study at Oregon State University. As a previous soccer athlete in high school, teamwork and determination are two of the many skills Nadia has contributed to the Port Orford team this year. Even during the most difficult training days, her positive energy has been infectious to everyone. So far, Nadia’s favorite aspect about living at the field station is how closely she gets to interact with the community. She is fully enjoying the unique networking opportunities here – this internship has allowed her to connect with the team at Port Orford Sustainable Seafood and with other like-minded interns, such as Maddie English, a student conducting research here as part of OSU’s 2021 Marine Studies Initiative.

Figure 2. Nadia using high-powered binoculars to systematically scan the sea for gray whales. Port Orford, OR. July 2021.

Last but not least is our high school intern, Damian Amerman-Smith. Damian is a rising senior at Pacific High School and plans to attend college fall 2022 to pursue a career in engineering. Due to his experience here so far, he is now considering applying to OSU! Damian is a Port Orford local and in addition to sharing his sense of humor and unique stories, he also has demonstrated curiosity, engagement, and attention to detail to every aspect of our work thus far. Damian’s favorite task at this point in the season is observing whale activity from the cliff. He picked up on nuances of the theodolite quickly and has enjoyed learning the various methods for systematic wildlife observation.

Figure 3. Damian learning how to use Pythagoras, the tracking software that accompanies the theodolite. Port Orford, OR. July 2021.

Part 3: Wind, Prey, and Looking Ahead

Now that you are familiar with the 2021 Port Orford team, it is time to discuss updates from the field! It has been particularly windy during the start of this season, and we also have had few whale encounters.

Flexibility during unfavorable weather conditions is important, and for that reason it has made the training period all that more intense. We only have two weeks to master our new skill set before we collect four weeks of standardized data, and therefore we must be sure to choose our days off wisely. Good weather days have been sparse, so we make sure they are used for field work. However, just because the forecast predicts poor conditions does not mean we immediately have the day off. Forecasts are not always accurate, and for the past week the predicted versus actual conditions were not aligned. Hence, we wake up at the usual time and often drive to the Port early to assess the weather conditions in person before deciding what is feasible that day.

Yet, with adaptability, determination, and a close eye on conditions, we have managed to persist with our kayak sampling and theodolite observations. Due to the collective persistence of Team “Heck Yeah!”, we have been able to collect exciting prey data.

Figure 4. Mysid swarm captured on GoPro video at Tichenor Cove, Station 4. Port Orford, OR. July 2021.

It is important to note, however, that increased winds may not be ultimately bad. As Dawn has written about before on the blog, winds often increase upwelling conditions, bringing nutrients to the surface and thus increase prey abundance. In fact, we have seen an uptick in prey abundance in the past few days. In particular, we have captured increased amounts of zooplankton prey at two sampling stations in Tichenor Cove. We have seen Dungeness crab larvae, mysid swarms, and we even counted 438 amphipods that were collected in our prey net last Friday!

When I look back at the past two weeks, I am amazed to recount everything we have learned: First Aid/CPR, kayak paddle & rescue, theodolite tracking, in situ kayak prey sampling, data management, as well as gray whale and zooplankton prey ID. I know I speak for all of us when I say that these training weeks were challenging yet rewarding, and we retained our eagerness to put our new skillset to task. The future is bright as we hope to see a less wind and more whales over the next four weeks. Until then, we are saying “Heck Yeah!” to each challenge and continue to refine our skills so we are prepared when weather conditions are favorable. Stay tuned for more updates from Team “Heck Yeah!”.

Figure 5. Team “Heck Yeah!” excited for the field season. Port Orford, OR. July 2021.