Saving Oysters in Oregon – week 5

Minivan Diaries.

Good times with my good ol’ green minivan!  Drove up and down the central Oregon coast, getting some spectacular views, hitting up nice beaches, and went to a festival in Corvallis before driving back to Charleston.

Well, I was actually doing work, and it was a state car, but all of that happened!

At the beginning of the week, I collected a series of water samples from different docks and beaches in the Coos Bay area, so I could measure their pH.  There are several reasons for this work: 1. ocean acidification, which is caused by increasing carbon dioxide in the air from combustion being absorbed by the ocean, affects oyster shells, 2. increasing alkalinity in the bay may be a precursor of eutrophication, and 3. we wanted to check the accuracy of our field pH meters with a new, expensive lab pH meter.  I’ve probably collected 5-6 samples from 9 different sites, along with getting measurements at the sites with a handheld field meter.  We saw that the field and lab meters are slightly off, but pretty much at a constant rate, so there is a pretty good correlation between the two.  This took up a good three whole days, driving to different sites, lugging around a heavy “handheld” meter, and then coming back to the lab to measure the pH levels.  I hope the data and results I got will be useful!

Thursday morning (4:30am), my advisor, a grad student and I went to Florence (~1 hour north of Coos Bay) to monitor eelgrass beds that my advisor had planted a few years ago.  A bridge was to be built, but in the process, a protected species of eelgrass was going to be ripped out.  So they transplanted all the plants that would be affected downstream, and they have to be monitored quarterly to ensure their survival.  I am happy to say they are doing well!

Then I continued on to Newport, where I met up with my fellow Sea Grant Scholars.  We all had to convene in Corvallis Friday morning for a mid-summer check-in, where we would tell each other about our projects, talk about what is expected of us at the end, and possible next steps after this internship.  I had a great time hearing about what everyone else is up to.  We are all doing such different things, some working in the field to do experiments and collect data, others reading through literature to create databases of information, and yet others creating online websites and editing videos to spread information about marine issues!  I also found out that I saw a video edited by one of my fellow Sea Grant Scholars at a seminar in Coos Bay!  It’s nice to know that our work is being put out there and reaching people.

From there, I helped out at da Vinci Days!  A festival for arts and science (I think..).  I helped man the Oregon Sea Grant booth, and I will admit that I think I learned more than the people visiting our booth!  Not only did I have to learn quickly enough to explain what Sea Grant was about and answer questions about all the marine issues Sea Grant tackles, but I also spent a lot of time with our interactive learning activities (games for kids) because they looked so fun!  I had an awesome time and I have to make sure to go to more of those in the future!

I finally drove back down to Charleston Saturday afternoon (about a 4 hour drive). As much as I liked my quality time with the green minivan, I am spending the rest of my weekend walking around!

I have no idea what I will be doing this next week… probably one of the many exciting and interesting projects I’ve been working on, but not sure which one!  So I’ll let ya know =]

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One thought on “Saving Oysters in Oregon – week 5

  1. Your experiences with environmental impacts from planned projects and contribution to the research required for completion (or not) sounds incredible. I am glad to hear daVinci Days (yes, arts and science in true renaissance style) was both fun and educational. Hope to hear more of your “road chronicles”

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