Week Three: (Sea)stars and Stripes

This past week has been very exciting! A new intern came to work in my office and it has been a lot more interesting having someone to share my eight-hour day with. Anthony is a pathways intern from California and it’s his first time in Oregon, so we have been showing him around. This past week I have been finding aragonite saturation thresholds for decapods (i.e. crabs, lobsters, shrimp). I needed to find low, moderate, and high values. So a low aragonite saturation value, would have a high impact on calcifying organisms, and a high aragonite saturation value would have a lesser impact. The less aragonite in the ocean, the harder it is for organisms to calcify, so they have to devote more energy to calcifying and less to other things, such as growth. Thus, if an organism has trouble growing because the aragonite saturation state, the impact would be less than if the aragonite saturation state has caused the organism mortality. Based on the literature, we decided 1.5 would be an appropriate low-impact threshold and 0.9 would be a high-impact threshold. We could not find anything that supported a moderate-impact threshold, so we just averaged the low and high numbers and used 1.2 as a moderate-impact threshold.

In addition to working all week, the interns went on many adventures. We had another bonfire on the beach on Thursday night and spent our day off on Friday relaxing at the Bayfront. On the fourth of July, we got up early to see the tide pools during low tide at Strawberry Hill. We saw starfish, urchins, anemones, fish, crabs, and seals! It was so amazing to see all of the marine life in the wild!


Afterwards, we went hiking near Cape Perpetua, went to Devil’s Churn, and stopped by a flea market in Yachats. We got back to Hatfield by 1 and got all showered and fed for the small Independence Day party we had. The day was completed with fireworks overlooking the bay.


We worked during the week and played during the weekend, a week that was perfectly balanced.

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2 thoughts on “Week Three: (Sea)stars and Stripes

  1. Excellent title! It sounds like you had a really great week with many adventures. I like Strawberry Hill- lots of tidepool fish there.
    Out of curiosity, what are the units for aragonite saturation?

  2. It’s just the greek letter omega (Ωaragonite). When Ω = 1, the ocean is saturated; if Ω 1, the ocean is supersaturated.

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