Starting Fieldwork

It has been another great week here in Oregon!  I’ve done so much and cannot believe I have already been here for two weeks. These past few days were filled with fieldwork at the EPA. Myself along with two researchers started one of our experiments in the Yaquina Estuary here in Newport on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then on Thursday we traveled and hour north to Pacific City, Oregon to collect data on the Nestucca Estuary and on Friday we went three hours south to Bandon, Oregon to do the same data collection on the Bandon Marsh.


It was a week full of very long days, but it was great to be doing fieldwork. I had never done any fieldwork before and didn’t know what to expect, but I really enjoyed it. Plus, I got to ride in the EPA’s hovercraft which was pretty awesome! In the Yaquina Estuary we placed clear boxes in the sediment to see the different rates of soil oxidation, while in Nestucca and Bandon we measured how quickly sediments have been building up over the past few years.

In addition to that, I cleaned and measured the macro-algae that was covering the sites where our clear boxes were placed in the Yaquina Estuary. We are interested in seeing how much macro-algae is on the estuary and if that correlates to the oxidation layer in the sediment.  After collecting the algae from our plots in the estuary I had to wash off the sediment and weigh it to see how much we had collected. During this process I realized how great it is to be working at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. While I was cleaning off my algae another researcher came into the lab to do her work. She turned out to be a professor from Oregon State University and an expert on algae who, just last week, gave a presentation at Hatfield about the algae that comes to the Oregon Coast on the debris from the Japanese tsunami. She has been responsible for collecting and identifying the foreign species. We were able to share the same workspace and we talked for about two hours all about marine science. It was a great experience and made me realize how lucky I am to be working at such a unique and intellectual place.


This week wasn’t all about the work, however. Yesterday, I traveled south of Newport to Waldport where, along with some fellow residents, I collected fresh clams and mussels straight from the water! We also went to Cape Perpetua and Devil’s Churn, both of which over look the Pacific and have rocks the create huge waves.  It was so beautiful to be perched up above the beach and to look out and only see the ocean.

Next week I am looking forward to spending the 4th of July along the Oregon Coast and hope to do some more sight seeing around the area.


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About James Kralj

My name is a James Kralj and I am a junior at the University of Wisconsin- Madison where I am majoring in microbiology. This summer I will be working with the EPA studying the biogeochemistry of salt marshes along the Oregon coast. This past fall I began research on Lake Michigan studying how invasive mussels impact its ecology and I am looking forward to continuing my studies this summer in Newport, OR.

2 thoughts on “Starting Fieldwork

  1. You are living the dream, James! Love the joie de vivre of your posts.

  2. Glad you are enjoying your fieldwork – how are macroalgae related to soil oxidation, anyway?

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