Week 7: Coastal exploration continued

Not too much happened on the research front this week. I’ve finished looking into decapod studies and began looking at fish studies. It is thought that fish will be fairly resistant to ocean acidification because they can swim away from unfavorable water conditions and do not calcify an external shell. However, there have been some recent studies on larval fish that found evidence to the contrary. Behavioral studies have found that low pH conditions have a negative effect on the ability of larval fish to detect prey, learn and reduce overall activity. Even though fish do not calcify an external shell they do calcify their ear bone, or otolith. This structure is important for balance and hearing. It also has an important use for research. Marine biologists look at otoliths in the same way that dendrologists look at tree rings. The layers of calcium carbonate can tell the age of a fish and the isotopes incorporated in the structure can be analyzed to learn about the water conditions at the time the otolith was formed.

Hiking past a beachside creek

Hiking past a beachside creek

This weekend I convinced some of my friends to make the drive down from Seattle and come see some of Oregon. We went camping at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, a 40 mile stretch of the coast covered in massive dune formations. The reason the Oregon dunes are so unique is that they extend into the forest. Over the 6,000 years since the modern shoreline was established coastal winds and waves have moved sand back, up to 2.5 miles inland. We hiked along trails that began with pine needle covered forest floor only to find ourselves struggling up a sand dune a few yards later, even as we headed away from the beach. 

Inside the sea lion caves

Inside the sea lion caves

We also visited one of the best known tourist traps along the Oregon coast, the sea lion caves. The enormous cavern extends 125ft high, making it the largest sea cave in the America’s. Unfortunately, the sea lions were not inside the caves when we visited but we could still hear the bleating of the disgruntled beasts from the cliffs overlooking the sea and watch them flop out on the sunny outcropping below.



Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 thoughts on “Week 7: Coastal exploration continued

  1. It’s amazing how much lifestage plays a part in the effects of changing ocean conditions on organisms. Larval and juvenile stages are definitely important!

  2. I’ve never thought about the idea that fish may be less susceptible to changing ocean conditions because then can simply swim away! What an intriguing thought.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.