Summer Sampling

A beautiful day on the Wilson River.

The Tillamook area is quite beautiful. There are moments during a busy day of sampling when I suddenly forget what I am doing and feel the blue sky, beautiful water, birds and the breeze. This is a job that actual people have, and that I could have some day too. It’s not a bad life.

I am currently incubating a batch of water samples taken earlier this week in lower Tillamook Bay. This incubation is special because I decanted the samples in the BOD bottles within hours of collection, rather than keeping the samples in a cooler over night before filling the BOD bottles. The respiration rates from the two previous incubations show significant variation by geographic location, and it will be interesting to see how the 4 most recent samples I took look in comparison with the others, and if the rates are still consistent with this batch and storage hasn’t influenced the rates from the previous incubations. My mentor Cheryl has been mapping them in ArcGIS and it is neat to see the data depicted visually on the map of the Bay. It affords a completely different sense of the data than a bar graph or scatter plot.

On our last trip to Tillamook, we employed a hover craft to get around. It sounds fun, and it is, sort of. Mostly, it’s a nail-biting, loud and wet ride. The most redeeming aspect of the hover craft is that it makes who ever is in it look really cool. I had the pleasure of spotting a van on the highway come to a complete stop to stare at us as we were heading back to the boat-launch. Of course, minutes later, we almost nose-dived and crashed when the tail wind started giving us a little too much help, and I had to scramble on top of the ice chest to put as much weight on the rear of the craft and get sprayed with water. That did not look cool. Good thing the van wasn’t watching.

My next trip to Tillamook will involve assisting with the installation of rigging to secure an instrument package beneath a pier. The planning and design that has gone into this is significant, as are the challenges. There are cables, pulleys, huge bags of stones, and power tools involved. The trick will be in not getting smashed by the pier or boat, as the work must take place from a boat beneath said pier. I will also be collecting a time series of water samples to test for variation in respiration rates as the water changes with the tides.

I leave you with a couple pictures of the latest rig we have employed on water sampling trips for maximum efficiency.

Filtering water with the peristaltic pump.

Pumps make sampling fun!

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2 thoughts on “Summer Sampling

  1. I remember hearing about those hover crafts last year with Cheryl’s work up in the Tillamook estuary. They certainly seemed to get stuck in the mud a few times last year, but it sounds like that hasn’t happened yet to you, likely because of your quick maneuvers jumping on coolers!

  2. Sometimes getting to the field site is even more of an adventure than the work itself. Glad that your project has some aspects that aren’t reliant on having power in the building. How cool is that outdoors filter setup?!

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