Skyler’s Weekly Review – Week 8

The Buzz: Tillamook Field Work Week

Eelgrass beds of Tillamook Bay

Tillamook Field Work Week: In the world of computer systems and mountains of data to process, I often don’t get to find out where the data I’m working with comes from. Working with SEACOR has provided me ample opportunities to splash in the mud, wade through the water, handle an estuary’s bounty in the form of epiphyte goop (plants that grow on other plants) and smelly eelgrass, and perhaps most importantly see the data I use from start to finish.

Porphyra, a genus of common brownish-red epiphyte off the Oregon Coast that attaches frequently to eelgrass, can be seen here.

Buried under mats of eelgrass are a plethora of vulnerable but highly adapted animals. Poke around long enough, and you’ll find a whole other world. I have found Skeleton shrimp, colonial tunicates (some invasive), shore crabs, kelp crabs, isopods-a-plenty, bay clams and oysters taking advantage of the cover. I find something new every trip!

Eelgrass coverage, epiphyte coverage, algae coverage, and number of shoots per quadrat are typical numbers SEACOR collects for dozens of sample sites in each estuary.

Much like the golden hour of sunset, sunrise has its own hour that’s best enjoyed when you get used to waking up early enough to see it.

Sun is up. I am up.


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