So much shrimp, I might as well be Forrest Gump

Hey y’all! It’s me, Grace, your resident shrimp scientist! I’m working with the USDA and OSU Fisheries and Wildlife to determine cryptoniscan lifespan and settlement and ground truthing the age/size relationship between Orthione and Upogebia.

I’ve been up to my elbows in shrimp the last two weeks! A lot of my time gets spent in the lab. I usually analyze the shrimp and input their data while my lab partner, Joshua, does the cryptoniscan experiments. Since June 25, I’ve analyzed over 200 mud shrimp! Only about 124 more shrimp from the May sample to go. We plan to go back out in late July to get another big sample. But hopefully not as big as the May sample…We usually work for a couple hours in the morning, have lunch together outside (weather permitting), and work for another couple hours in the afternoon. We have pretty similar tastes in music so we usually put on a fun playlist and sing to each other while we work or listen to cool ecology podcasts.

Large female Upogebia
A large female mud shrimp in my palm for size reference

On Wednesday night, we biked out to the fishing pier with Sarah Henkel and her grad and REU students to do plankton tows. We didn’t get back to the lab until about 1:15am! Thankfully we waited to comb through the samples for cryptoniscans until the next day. We’re planning to go out onto the mudflat behind HMSC on Friday morning around 5am with Brett Dumbauld and his crew to see how they do their annual sampling for USDA. We are also gearing up to go out with them next week to a couple different sites in Washington to look for remaining Upogebia populations. It’s going to be a great but hard working week next week!

Plankton tows on the fishing pier
Joshua and I doing plankton tows on the fishing pier next to Rogue (July 7, 2021)

We usually send our data to our supervisors/research team at the end of each work day and have meetings at least once a week. COVID-19 hasn’t affected us much. In the beginning we wore our masks in the lab, but with the most up-to-date info from OSU we are back to just about normal operating conditions. My favorite activity so far is field work! It feels good to be able to put in some physical activity while doing science. Being in the lab is fun too, mostly because of my great working relationship with Joshua, but it can drive you a little crazy looking at shrimp all day, every day. But it’s all definitely worth it to try and protect our ecosystems and estuaries.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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.