My name is Sarah Heidmann, and I am one of the Summer Scholars this year for Oregon Sea Grant. I attend Oregon State University, and will be graduating in June 2014. I’m majoring in biology with the marine option, and minoring in statistics. I am originally from California, but am loving my experiences so far in Corvallis and Newport studying marine biology. This past spring term at OSU I lived in Newport taking an intensive marine biology course, and am excited to put all my new knowledge to the test.
Although I am working in Newport, I am living in Corvallis. Since OSU’s main campus is there, it was easier for me to live in the house I will have throughout the next year, in addition to being able to be with my friends who are here this summer. It’s about an hour driving distance, and I’ve been riding in a vanpool that allows me to sleep both ways, but I still have to get up pretty early.
This summer I am working in Newport with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA-ARS) studying fish and invertebrate use of coastal estuarine habitats. We are focusing on the habitat provided by a non-native species of seagrass, Zostera japonica, using GoPro cameras to record video in different areas and analyzing the numbers of fish and crabs that appear in the field of view. I’ll be in the field a lot this summer, getting very muddy.
So far I’ve been mostly practicing analysis of video from past years, trying to find some ways of improving the sampling technique. Although I’ve had some previous research experience, I still have so much to learn! I have been getting some training in Microsoft Access databases as well as statistics using R, which has a very steep learning curve when you have never programmed before. It seems like I’ll gain a some skill sets this summer that will be very useful farther down the road in my career.
Thanks for taking the time to read about my adventures! I am greatly looking forward to the rest of the summer.