By definition a Yurt is a portable, round tent covered with skins or felt and used as a dwelling by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. A little more than a week ago, I had no idea what a yurt was. Now, I comfortably reside in one overlooking the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (SSNERR) in Charleston, OR. I’ll admit I was skeptical about not having running water at first, but after seeing the view from my front porch and getting to know my roommates, I have no doubt that I’m in store for an amazing summer on the coast.
One of the first things I noticed upon my arrival to Oregon is how nice the people are here. From the labs at Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB) and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to gas stations and even the local music store, I have met nothing but genuine and helpful people. If local fishermen are anything like the people I’ve met so far, it’s no wonder that Oregon Sea Grant and other agencies have made so much progress with innovative commercial fisheries management techniques. Collaboration and a positive attitude can go a long way. I am really looking forward to working with the great staff here at SSNERR for the next couple months.
As far as research goes, I am just getting my feet wet. This past week for me has consisted mostly of literature review and data entry, though I did get out on the water twice. My work will primarily consist of long-term biological monitoring of oyster settlement and fish abundance. I will compare my data from this summer to data collected at our sample sites from up to 30 years ago. Therefore, it is important for me to read through these previous publications to enable comparison of the different datasets. Data entry of previous fish seines is important to me as well. When fish are collected in the field, they are recorded in a log. I have been transferring information about each fish over from the log to a database that South Slough scientists will use to assess fish populations and write future grant proposals. I am also learning about the species richness and abundance found in SSNERR as I enter this data. My mentor has also encouraged me to pursue my own independent project to complete in my time here. I will continue learning about the organisms of SSNERR and propose potential project ideas next week.
My backyard for the next couple months… I could get used to this pic.twitter.com/JVF4w95UKk
— Collin Williams (@CoastalCollin) June 18, 2016