Good Times All Around

I think I’m falling in love… with Oregon that is. With a four-day weekend last week thanks to the Fourth of July holiday, myself along with some fellow interns were able to get out and see more of what Oregon has to offer.

But before we began our adventures, there was work to be done.  The project I am working on that uses clear buckets to study soil oxidation requires a good low tide so that the sample site is clear of water. This allows us to easily photograph the sediment layer without disturbing the surrounding area. To answer a question from my last post, the reason we removed and weighed the macroalgae was to see if there is any correlation between the depth of the oxidized soil and the amount of algae on top and to see how much algae is covering different parts of the estuary. The tides this past week weren’t low enough, so instead of being out in the field, I was helping out with another lab’s research project that had finished up earlier in the week. I helped to count Zostera japonica plants which are a type of sea grass.  The experiment was studying growth rates of the plants under varying conditions. It was a pretty quiet week at the EPA, but this week promises to be much busier with four days of field work.


On the Fourth of July, a group of us went to Olalla Lake where we spent the day swimming and jumping off of rope swings. We then made our way back to Newport for an all American cookout complete with a little slice of Wisconsin, grilled bratwursts. When we finished our feast, we watched the fireworks that were launched from Yaquina Bay, right next to the Hatfield Marine Science Center.

After the holiday, some of us went to Devil’s Punchbowl where, for the first time in my life, I saw a whale, which just so happens to be my favorite animal. It was pretty far away from us but nevertheless it was still amazing to see one in the wild.  We stopped at the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay to see if we were able to spot anymore but we had no such luck, however we did get to drive along a beautiful stretch of the coast which made up for it.


The next day we went to Corvallis where we spent the afternoon floating down the Willamette River. After driving to what seemed like every store in the city, we finally found tubes and began to drift down the river only to realize we had forgotten our car keys back at the start. Luckily some fellow floaters offered us a ride to the starting point, and we were able to laugh it off. We certainly learned our lesson!

Then on Sunday, which was my birthday, we went to the beach to celebrate. Nothing says “Happy Birthday” quite like a quick dip in the 50 degree Pacific Ocean! It sure was a weekend I will never forget. Oregon truly is a beautiful place to live!  This week I will be sampling in Yaquina Bay and traveling to Nestucca Marsh, Netarts Marsh, and the Bandon Marsh for four long days of field work, and I can’t wait!

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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 “Good Times All Around

  1. A belated Happy Birthday to you, James.

    Why does having a sample clear of water make for easier photographing? Is it because the excess water disturbs the sediment of the surrounding? If so, how does that effect the sample site?

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