This week started off early, 4 am to be exact. After noticing we were starting to lose our minds in the office, my mentors let my officemate and I off of desk duty for the day to get some field work experience. We assisted with recovering and replacing nutrient samples in a kelp bed in a section of the Yaquina Bay mud flats. We were up before the sun to take advantage of the low tide.
It was a great time, squelching across the mudflat, trying to watch the sunrise while at the same time making sure not standing in one place too long and risk getting stuck in the knee-deep mud.
Later in the week I went to help out with another sea star wasting survey. This time we were at the Otter Rock Marine Reserve. The tide pools that morning held all sorts of cool critters. There were the usual purple urchins and green anemones along with some more rare finds including a blood star, a couple of different types of nudibranchs and some lined chitons. We measured and noted the condition of over 100 sea stars. Most of the stars we found were a small, six-legged species however we also found a good number of large ochre stars.
I did still spend a lot of my time in the office this week working on my research despite the field opportunities. I have been working on getting my presentation and poster ready for the Sea Grant Symposium. As far as my research goes, we plan to meet with the rest of the CBRAT team and come up with risk thresholds on Monday so I have values to present for decapods.