Monday, November 21, 2011

Coconut Island!

Sorry so late!

But we finally got to go to COCONUT ISLAND!! Whoo :) While at Coconut, we analyzed our data from the DO experiment we had just recently completed. First off, Sherril showed us some of the charts she made regarding algal cover in the fishpond.
The charts we looked at were biomass vs % cover, % cover with bare sediment, and % cover without bare sediment. After discussing the meaning of the charts, it was time to input our own data!! First we had to come up with our parameters that was used in our experiment. Next we made graphs of our data.

We were all having slight difficulties with this part. Practically everyone (except Aukai) was not a Mac user. Becky, Jess, and Sam had a hard time converting some units for their data.

After finally getting everything into the computers, we made some graphs to analyze our data. We looked at salinity, water velocity and DO. After spending most of the day in the classroom, we had some extra time to go swimming!! Everyone was so excited! That is until we actually got there. Since it was getting a little late (~530PM) it was kind of chilly. So only three people (Sam, Becky, and Daniel) actually went into the water. The rest of us just chilled and talked on shore.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Algal Cover Research Week

Sam: Let's see what is in my hands.

Make sure we got everything!

Algal Cover Research Week

We came back to micro- and macroalgae research this week. As usual, we took pond water samples for phytoplankton chlorophyll research, we took sediment cores for MPB analysis, and we took limu samples for macroalgae biomass research. By last Saturday, we have finished 23 sites (yehhhhhhhhh!!!).

Last Saturday was not a good day to work outside in the pond since it was really windy, cloudy, and cold. We did not expect to finish 16 sites, which we did last time, but we made it because of our awesome interns' hard, effective work. Thank you guys! The water in the pond was really cold, and we have to walk in a fairly long distance in the water since our sites were spreaded in a distance. However, the hardship did not stop our dedication to scientific research. In fact, the interns were doing very well. All the samples were labeled properly and all the information was recorded clearly and specifically on the datasheets. The water filtering was also faster than last time mainly because the water samples contained less sediment, which blocked the filter paper, this time than last time. The posted pictures were from last Tuesday. We did not have pictures from last Saturday. :( Keep up with the pace and the dedication to the research! The final victory is waving to us!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Stable Isotopes! Say What?!

On Tuesday, November 1st we got a little break from collecting samples and stayed on dry land. Yipee! It was classroom time, so Megsie set out to teach us interns Stable Isotope Ecology and Mixing Models in Food Webs. Say What?!

Oh leftover Halloween candy! Chocolate wins again. Oh sorry Megsie, you said what?!

Back to the subject at hand...

Ah, I get it, carbon isotopes are important in studying food web dynamics. I think after this, is were I got lost.

Mmmmm chocolate!

Wait, Daniel do you get it?

So figuring out the carbon values helps us figure out the primary producer in the fishpond and who is eating who. Eating different primary producers will affect the carbon values in the consumers body tissues. Large differences of carbon between animals indicate that they have different food sources or that their food webs are based on different primary producers (phytoplankton, or epiphytes). By figuring out each carbon value of the different organisms in the fishpond we can figure out the food web dynamics of the fishpond. And so from our data we can determine who is eating who right?

Kind of?! It could be a combination

So what is occuring in the fishpond is an isotope mixing model.

Hmmm I could sure use some more chocolate.

But instead, task at hand...

What can we do to solve this problem and better figure out the food web dynamincs of the fishpond? Well, we can do tracers, or we can do gut content analysis of the crabs. Oooohhh, and looks like number 2 is our winner. Stay tuned to see what happens when we go crabing to analyze their gut contents.

Frances out!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

What! We're done with Core Sampling?!?

On Tuesday Megsie started off the day by having a little whiteboard session (sorry I don’t have any pictures for this part). We got to learn all about the organisms we collected in the core samples taken in He’eia Fishpond. It was interesting to learn about the different trophic levels. How the primary producers are at the bottom and the predatory animals up at the top. It was really interesting to see how the diets of the crabs we gathered got the tropic level they were at because of what they ate. The latter half of the day we spent collecting the cages used in Megsie’s project and cleaning them up.

Sam and Aukai beginning to take out cages

a cage control that has a  bunch of limu on it with what looks like  bivalves growing on the silver part on the bottom. Anyone got any other guesses?

 using the boat Megsie, Frances, and Erin go to the further plots to pull out those cages.

            Since we never touch the cages for a while they have had some time to rest and become a part of the pond… From what I saw there was a whole lot of limu growing on many of the cages. There were also crabs inside much of the cages, we think they could have hatched inside of the cages and just grew up in there. Also at the bottom of the cages there were some interesting organisms, I think they could have been some bivalves that could have started growing, and it was hard to say since they were clear, squishy, kind of slimy on the outside and full of water. Any way it was still very neat just to be able to see them.

Using team work, we moved cages into the boat. The boat is getting full of cages!

Megsie with all her cages ready to send them off!
Wooo Hoo all Pau!

Every body is working to clean up the cages to get all the gross stuff off and moving it into the truck to throw it away.

            On Saturday we had a community work day along with a little session with Aunty Donnie (sorry I don’t have pictures for this either). That morning beginning off with a pule (prayer) with all of the volunteers. This day we moved pohaku (rocks), to be more specific basalt rocks by forming a chain and passing them one-by-one. Luckily, we never had to pass any of what Sherril described to us as “eight-hand rocks,” where literally it would 4 people to move one rock, wooooooo good thing we never had to run into that mess. In our Aunty Donnie we talked about Makahiki season and how it is coming up soon. During this time everyone puts away everything that deals with Kū and war and worships Lono the god of agriculture, fertility, and much more. She shared a few items with us about Makahiki and even taught us another new chant! Aunty Donnie always has a way for making us think of how the ancestor Hawaiians were so in touch with the land and all that it does for us.
Just wanted to add this cause I think everyday is a beautiful day there!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Aloha everyone...

The video is done so here it is!
I will warn you in advance that their is some weird shaking in the video and frame rates are a little funny, but look past that and youʻll have a great time. You have to go to Vimeo to watch the HD version.

So on Tuesday the 11th of october we started the day finishing up seining for Megsie. Crabs were pretty rare at first but we were able to get an interesting fish.

The second half of that day we sat down with Sherril and had a discussion about dissolved oxygen. We thought of ways that DO enters and leaves the pond through different biological and mechanical forces.

Are goal was to find a hypothesis that we could build an experiment around. Then we prepared a list of all the equipment we would need to test this hypothesis when we came back on Saturday.

On our research Saturday we had two groups doing different jobs. We had a field group that went to the sites we designated and took water samples, temperature readings, and water velocity. The second group was onshore doing the Winkler titrations and salinity tests.

Hope our data supports our hypothesis! (what was our hypothesis again?)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Seining, Part V

So just for starters, this is what Megsie's thesis idea looked like:

Isn't it grand? I tried,
But all I got was this.

This week, more seining!

We switched goals, though- isotope analysis no longer. This time we were seining within 10 meters of Megsie's cage sites in order to determine community composition. The idea was to document all of the class sizes of the predators that can be found around her cages. We measured carapace width and length and sexed the crabs. Sometimes we couldn't identify the species, they were so small.

But, T. crenata's blue pinchers always give him away.

Two that were unidentifiable in the field. This one seems a little upset, not to humanize a research subject.

This mantis shrimp is one of my favorites because he packs quite the punch.

Peeping Tom here probably learned this little crab is a boy. We caught mostly males in the pond.

This crab missed the memo that we didn't need their claws for isotope analysis this week. He generously offered it to Sam.

Most of the day was spent seining, though at the beginning of the afternoon some of the interns went with Megsie to get more epiphyte samples. Measuring every crab took a while, so we didn't finish all 6 sites. We might have also quit when it got too cold... it has changed to winter on the Windward side. Next week, seining part VI.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Isotope + Dissolved Oxygen = Funnnnnnnnn!

Daniel, Erin, and Aukai are finding shrimps and crabs
Daniel, Erin, 和Aukai 正在寻找虾和螃蟹

Aukai is collecting MPB samples


Interns are titrating the water samples under Sherril and Judy's supervision


Sherril is lecturing to the interns


Look at me, am I handsome?


They are glass shrimps that we found.


Kappaphycus-----long time no see.


Why am I in your hand? I am so angry! Let me go!


Interns are getting limu from the pond to find shrimps and crabs


Aukai: Is this the one that we need?

Sam: No, I don't think so.



Daniel: I wish I can find something from this patch.

Erin: No way, throw it away.



MPB samples from the pond.


Tuesday's afternoon was an awesome time since we both did Megsie's isotop research and Sherril's dissolved oxygen laboratory work together.


Site B was the last isotop site that we went to. As usual, we took plankton samples, MPB samples, limu samples, and shrimp and crab samples. Site B was the nearest site to the dock, and it was close to mangrove forest onshore. The sediment at this site was more rigid than any other site where we could not easily get our feet out of the ground when we were standing. In terms of collecting different samples, we took MPB that were floating on the surface of the water instead of diving down with snorkels and masks because it is hard to get MPB samples on the bottom of the pond, and the concentration of MPB from bottom is also very low. Therefore, under Megsie's new protocol, surface MPB samples were collected.


Collecting massive limu from the fishpond and finding glass shrimps and blue pincher crabs is always the most exciting part of this research. It is because we can find many more intereting creatures than we what we really want------sounds like treasure hunting :) !! Since it was really a pain in the butt that we did not find many shrimps under the hot sun, we bet our luck on this last site. Fortunately, we found many shrimps at Site B---Thanks God! We even trapped a small puffer fish that was ballooned up!!!!! hahaha!


After we collected all the samples for Megsie's isotop research, we chose 4 different sites to collect water samples for Sherril's dissolved oxygen lab research. I went all the way into the mangrove forest to collect one sample. Honestly, the water inside the mangrove was colder than outside, and I had to be extremely careful while quickly since I did not want to stir up much sediment and encounter some "residents" inside the mangrove like big Samoan crabs. Daniel collected another water sample outside of the mangrove forest, Erin collected one sample inside the moi pend, and Sam collected the last sample outside of the pend. We wanted to investigate the dissolved oxygen inside the moi pend because a few years ago many small moi fish inside the pend died, and we wanted to know if it was because of the lack of oxygen.


When we went back to the dock, Sherril had already set up a field laboratory and been waiting for us. After Sherril gave the interns a brief introduction of laboratory safety and how to use the pipets, the interns were split into two groups and began the titration. After 4 water samples had been processed, we found out that the dissolved oxygen inside the pend was more than that outside. Normally, since many fish are living in the pend and consuming oxygen, the value should be less than outside. We guessed maybe it was because we only took one sample at each site and the one outside of the pend was collected at the downstream. Hereby, more samples should be collected, and more titration should be done to draw a finial conclusion.