Week 2: Just admiring the general splendor

This week I received more information about the CBRAT project and settled into my research duties. I am starting with the effects of ocean acidification on decapods (shrimp, true crabs, hermit crabs etc.). Decapods are relatively well studied compared to other marine taxa because of their economic importance, however, they are a diverse group of organisms and have varied adaptations for living in a low pH environment. I have a lot of papers to get through and I hope some clear trends will reveal themselves in the coming weeks.


Favorite sunset shot of the week from the Yaquina Bay Bridge

Every now and then it is necessary to take a short mental break from reading scientific journals. Fortunately, my office looks out on the courtyard that is frequented by several varieties of colorful finches, hummingbirds, one large out of place seagull and European starlings. I know I promised marine organism fun facts, however, my favorite organism fact I learned this week is terrestrial. My office mate, Maya, another intern with expertise in identifying the regional wildlife told me all about how European Starlings were brought over in the 1890’s in an attempt to bring all of the birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s works to the Americas. Starlings were first introduced in Central Park, now there are over 200 million taking over North America. They are highly invasive species with a range spanning the entire US where they outcompete native birds for space. Who knew such an inconspicuous little black bird would have such an interesting story.


An epic face-off about to begin

In my free time I have been exploring Newport’s beaches, which has yielded some fascinating wildlife encounters. I spent a good amount of time watching a seagull have his beak snapped at as he attempted to eat a very much still alive crab twice the size of his head, a turkey vulture stealing a dead fish from a flock of seagulls (tough week for seagulls), seals lazing about the tide pools and the highlight of my week, spotting three Orcas heading into the Bay after sunset.

This Saturday was World Ocean Day and what better way to spend it than tide pooling in the morning and wandering through the Oregon Coast Aquarium with the other interns all afternoon. We finished off the weekend with some light hiking Sunday afternoon around the coast. All in all Its been a great week.

By the way, if you somehow missed out on properly celebrating World Ocean Day go pick up some trash off of your local beach or checkout what these awesome marine advocacy groups have to say: World Ocean Day5 Gyres.






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2 thoughts on “Week 2: Just admiring the general splendor

  1. Love that fact about starlings! Still one of the craziest reasons I’ve ever heard about an invasive species’ dispersal. Sounds like you’ve been witnessing some fun coastal wildlife – especially with spotting orcas!

  2. I wonder if your decapod research will turn up information about why crabs are so scrappy? (is that too anthropomorphic?!) They seem to be members of an elite group that can persevere both on land and in the water (think alligators…). Try that, starlings!!

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