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!