How strange to call this planet 'Earth' when quite clearly it is ocean. Arthur C. Clarke

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Marine animal agglomeration

During my volunteer docent shift at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center last week, I took pictures of the marine life. Enjoy!

Sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. 
The white dot in the center is its five-toothed 
mouth called Aristotle's lantern.

Sea hare Aplysia californica (rear view) with sea cucumber 
in the background. The sea hare can release a dark purple 
ink as a defense. Click here to see a video of this sea hare in 
motion. Its peristaltic locomotion is cool to watch. The video
speeds up as you go.

Grunt sculpins Rhamphocottus richardsonii.  

Swell shark Cephaloscyllium ventriosum that you can
pet! Swell sharks got their name because when threatened,
they gulp lots of water and swell in size.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Permits and Assistants

January. What a great month. It's the first month of the year, and represents for many a new start. For me, it's also my birthday month. Speaking of my birthday, I had an awesome time hiking at the totally beautiful Point Lobos State Park that day, and a fun dinner party after.

View of Pacific Ocean from Point Lobos State Park in Carmel, CA. 
Photo taken Jan 18, 2015.

Gina blowing out candles on a vegan apple crisp.

January also represents an important part of the research process for me. I spent the entire month of January applying for scientific collecting permits. The ENTIRE month, you ask?! Yes, because in order to collect whelks, mussels, and barnacles from four sites in Oregon and six in California, I need five different permits. That means five different applications that all ask for different things, including exactly how many animals I'll be collecting, what size they'll be, and exactly where I plan to collect them. Of course, I didn't know any of those things yet, and I spent a lot of time trying to make up figure out the answers to those questions. I also need special permission to enter one research institution's property, an air force base pass, and lab space to keep my live animals alive in seawater tables in Oregon. Here's the breakdown:

Oregon permits and permissions:
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife permit
  • Oregon State Parks and Recreation permit
  • Hatfield Marine Science Center lab space and housing (approved!)
California permits and permissions:
  • California Department of Fish and Wildlife permit (approved!) 
  • California State Parks and Recreation permit (approved!)
  • Bodega Marine Reserve permit
  • Hopkins Marine Station permission to enter property (approved!)
  • Vandenberg Air Force Base Pass

This is all because I had to pair my study with $11,000 intertidal pH sensors that for SOME REASON were placed in MPAs, in state parks, and on an air force base! WHY?!!?

Now that I've written about what I'll be doing eight different times, I'm very familiar with how much work it will be: a lot. So I'm recruiting research assistants! If you are interested in getting first-hand marine research experience, please check out the link below! Undergraduates at UCSC can get 2 credits per quarter for helping with my research.