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

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Oregon Site Scouting

Last weekend I went to the Oregon coast to look at the sites I want to sample. Primarily, though, I was in Portland for my old college roommate's wedding; congratulations, Rachel and Max!

Purely by curious observation, I learned a lot about intertidal life in Oregon and how it's different than in California. This seemed backwards to me because I grew up in Oregon and was first inspired to study intertidal ecology because of Oregon tidepools. Fifteen years later, I finally feel like I understand something about them... but only in California. I won't give up on you, Oregon! I'm still charmed by your windy coasts and incredibly productive intertidal communities, and I have many years left to learn about them.

To spare your eyes a block of text, and since I took many photos, here's a picture montage of where I went and what I learned. All of these are original photos with no digital editing.

The bridge in Newport, OR over Yaquina Bay.
Near OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center.

The bridge in Newport, OR over Yaquina Bay.
Near OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center.

Rouge Brewing's world headquarters. 
Near OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center.
Yaquina Bay Bridge in the background.

Yaquina South Jetty. I looked for mussels here,
but found none.

A research vessel entering Yaquina Bay.

Oregon coast beach. I never suspected my first thought would
be: I'd surf that. Santa Cruz is getting to me.

Looking for more places off Hwy 101 to collect just mussels. 

Another field site: Strawberry Hill (STR). I'm not sure yet how it
was named. I didn't see strawberries, but they might come out in 
the summer. This was actually the wrong spot...

...this is the spot at STR where I am going to sample. This is
where there is (I think) some long-term diversity data. The
following photos are all from STR.

Nucella whelk on a mussel at STR. It's probably not 
eating the mussel because apparently the whelks in 
Oregon rarely eat mussels, and when they do, they 
eat a different species than the one shown here.

View of the land from the intertidal at STR.


Some super cute green anemones showing off their bright green 
photosynthetic symbionts in the full Oregon sun. 

Was something boring into this whelk? Can you feel the irony?

That's a huge mussel! It was the size of my hand! I've never
seen them that big in California.

Ha, I caught you! Those two whelks were totally eating mussels. 
Maybe they gave up on barnacles because they just kept settling
on the whelk's shell, mocking it.

S/he was determined not to let go. I left her/him attached
so s/he could finish eating when the tide came up.

There were so many whelks here, I had a really hard time not 
stepping on them. 

View of the ocean from the STR intertidal site.

Evidence of whelk predation? Maybe, but there's
no way to know which species made that hole...
unless there is, but no one has studied that yet. 
Thesis chapter?

A cheery tidepool. 

A whelk doing its whelky thing.

Is this what the world looks like from a whelk's point of view?

Albino mussel? Why is it orangey-tan? There were about 1 in
1000 of this color.

Whelks will be whelks.

I spy a bright orange Nucella

 I saw several healthy sea stars—at least a dozen—and no diseased
stars. Yay! This one is having a meal. 

See how beautiful this site is? Don't you want to help me collect field data?

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