Saving Oysters in Oregon – week 4

fourth of July!

(sorry, no firework pictures)

Remember how special and exciting those 3 or 4 day weekends were in school?  Didn’t matter which holiday it was, it was just an excuse to stay up late watching movies and spend the whole next day reading a good novel? .. maybe that’s just me.. but anyway. THESE WEEKENDS ARE SO MUCH BETTER WHEN YOU WORK.  I just did not know how to really appreciate those long weekends (that also make the next week go that much faster).

NOT TO SAY that I hate my job.  Far from that.  I loveee what I’m doing out here.  I just need some time to re-energize so I can go at it with a renewed vigor the following week!

Back to July 4th.  It was amazing.  A weekend full of long sandy beaches, calm bays, picnics with barbecued oysters (I DID eat one.. I could learn to like them), the quintessential fireworks over the water, and a last-minute visit from my friend, Jake Bruene!

I kept him pretty busy showing him my favorite nature spots, the oysters I’ve collected, and of course my Oly ROCS.  I guess I tend to ramble, because as I was trying to explain to him my work and the problems oysters are facing, he had to slow me down to be able to digest all this new information I was throwing at him.  He was impressed by how much I had learned in a few weeks, and at that point I realized.. Yeah!  I HAVE learned a ton.  If you want to learn more about a field, there’s nothing better than jumping right in to a hands-on project with a great advisor.  And that’s exactly what OSG provided ( <– mid-internship thank you for this opportunity).  I’m also beginning to understand the term “trusted broker of information” that is in the OSG mission statement.  I would say I’m starting to become one; I just need to slow down when I explain things, apparently.

Now, about this week’s tasks!

remember the Dredge Islands?

They contained all those oyster shells from the subtidal environment, and I collected those shells to be able to compare shell sizes with those in the intertidal environment.  Well, early this week, I was able to measure living oysters in the intertidal for the comparison… and guess what I found?  There was a similar bell-curve type of distribution for both intertidal and subtidal oysters, but on the average, the subtidal shells were a good 20mm larger than the intertidal ones.  The shells for this comparison were randomly selected to include the whole spectrum of sizes, so the next project will include comparing all the largest oyster shells to see if there is a significant difference in their maximum sizes.

boats and pH.

In Coos Bay and South Slough, my advisor has a good number of dataloggers that measure temperature, conductivity, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and pH every 15 minutes.  They have been recorded for at least a decade now, meaning that they have a significant amount of data to study the smallest changes that have been going on in these waters.  For good measure though, we wanted to compare the pH measurements of the field dataloggers to those of a more precise lab instrument.

So I took Jake with me on a nice, chilly and wet boat ride to collect some water samples near the dataloggers!  I’ve been trying to show him a good time in Coos Bay, but of course, that day had to be the coldest, foggiest day to be out on the water.  I had a good time though.  I was able to use field instruments, record data, and collect samples all by myself!  I felt very independent.  Well.. I don’t have my boating license yet so Adam was driving the boat for me, BUT I was able to drive the state truck the next day to different beaches to collect more water samples.  So all in all, this was a great week of gaining independence.

As for the pH comparison, it didn’t go so well.  It seems as though the lab instrument and the field instrument were not calibrated or standardized the same way, because I was getting slightly different readings.  No need to worry though, I’ll just try again next week!

And those Oly ROCS…

We did end up making more of those, and they’re definitely closer to what they need to be for implementation.  (I also recruited Jake to help make his first Oly ROC).  I think we’ll be putting them in the bay soon, so I’ll have those pictures for you when that happens!

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3 thoughts on “Saving Oysters in Oregon – week 4

  1. Great reference to your growing independence – so perfect for July 4th! pH can be a tricky beast, and even experienced practitioners can get tripped up with inter-calibration and standard precision. Looking forward to results from the big oyster shells.

  2. Very glad to read your posts, Joanne. Keep up the good work. And you’re right about long weekends and work!

  3. Hi Joanne…
    Thanks for sharing your experiences at South Slough on your blog… It has been great to learn about the fun stuff you have been doing.

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