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

Thursday, May 7, 2015

New Field and Lab Work

It's been too long since I've posted any updates! But this is for a good reason: I've been busy doing my research!

Since my Oregon Site Scouting entry, I've done a lot. Below I attempted to summarize the most important events, but the list kept growing, so it is more of a bulleted story.
  • Finalized my collecting methods
  • Set up the seawater table to organize and contain my live snails
  • Collected at Soberanes Point and Hopkins Marine Station
  • Put my live animals in the seawater table
  • Started training undergraduate interns to help me
  • Had my mom and her friend over for Easter weekend
  • Changed and improved the way my animals are kept in the seawater table
  • Collected more mussels to feed the live snails
  • Attended a fisheries conference
    • Presented a poster
    • Got a flat tire
    • Was called up to receive a poster award while I was outside fixing my flat tire
  • Met with my advisor and reevaluated and redefined my collecting methods
  • Cracked my windshield loading a longboard into my car
  • Sampled my Lompoc Landing site located within Vandenberg Air Force Base
  • Used my poster prize money to buy a new windshield
  • Started a side project for one of my interns
  • Collected at Bodega Marine Reserve with an intern
  • Talked to a professor at Bodega Marine Reserve who is asking very similar questions in almost the same system as me
    • Feared getting scooped again
    • Talked to my advisor, who said it will be fine and I should continue my current plan
    • Regained confidence and continued my current plan
  • Drove on Highway 1 north of SF and learned how extremely windy and slow it is and never to do it again
  • Cleaned and froze mussels
  • Froze and cleaned mussels
  • Ran in the Big Sur Marathon with an old college roommate
  • Revived my old laptop and designated it the lab computer
  • Wrote and adapted protocols to clean, dry, weigh, and measure mussels
  • Cleaned, dried, weighed and measured mussels
  • Reorganized the live snails in the seawater table
  • Ordered my first specialized, expensive tool—a point micrometer—to measure mussel shell thickness
  • Used an electric drill for the first time to build part of a new water delivery system for the snails in the seawater table
  • Tried to make up a protocol to collect data for my intern, but got mixed up and confused
  • Had extra volunteers help me out and realized too late I didn't explain my procedures well enough
  • Went to a mentoring workshop so I can be a better mentor (that was today)
As you can see, there have been ups and downs. This is natural. I fully expect that I will have to go back to all these sites and really do it right. I think that the data I collect now from my collections will be more like pilot data that I use to see if I should go back and collect again with fewer to no mistakes. I realize, however, that mistakes always happen, so I should expect the worst even if I hope for the best.

Here are photos of the above events, roughly in chronological order. Enjoy!

Collecting at Soberanes Point in Big Sur, CA.

When my mom visited, we found a great Brazilian restaurant and went to the 

On the left is the surfboard that caused
the crack! Boooo 10 ft fiberglass boards!

A view of Lompoc Landing through my cracked windshield.

Sampling at Lompoc Landing in Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The finish line at the Big Sur Marathon.

A mussel to be measured.

Wet lab set up. There are whelks 
and mussels in those cups.

Yellow whelk eggs produced in the lab. Those are actually 
egg capsules. The eggs are much smaller and inside.

A dancing whelk. 

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