I have just concluded my first week at Newport’s Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) as an Oregon Sea Grant summer scholar. I have been looking forward to this experience and am so grateful to call Newport and Hatfield home for the next nine weeks! I feel fortunate to have already been introduced to multiple research projects, though know I am only skimming the surface. There is such an array of research happening, I hope to learn as much as I can to help narrow my interests for graduate school.
My first day on campus, my mentor, Dr. Brett Dumbauld, took me out on the nearby Idaho Flats with Dr. John Chapman, a professor at Oregon State University. John and Brett have collaborated on burrowing shrimp and were taking a group of REU students out to pull sediment cores to look at the mud shrimp burrows (Upogebia pugettensis).
Brett is an aquaculture ecologist with the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), focused on the West coast shellfish culture industry. This summer we’ll be investigating habitat selection of Dungeness crab in response to threat from predation by Pacific staghorn sculpin. The habitats we will be testing are structured: oyster aquaculture and native eelgrass, and unstructured: open mudflat/sand. We spent time brainstorming until constructing the mesocosms we’ll use.
This week was also the graduate student poster session and Ignite Talks, five minute presentations showcasing selected work. From investigating native oysters as a viable market to understanding how anthropogenic sounds affect whale communication, I learned a lot about the diversity of research happening at Hatfield.
Other highlights of the week included: exploring the south jetty with my roommates, checking out the local brewery, camping in Drift Creek Wilderness, a NOAA wetting down party, new running trails, and walks on the estuary nature trail- just outside my door. I’m looking forward to what the rest of the summer brings!