Monday, July 30, 2012

FIRSTS of the 2nd half of 2012

from Tuesday, 24 July  and Saturday, 28 July

This past week held many firsts for us new LAIP interns. Tuesday was our first actual field research day at the fishpond after our two sessions of orientation and training. Saturday was our very first Saturday work day, first time on Coconut Island (a.k.a. Moku-o-loe), and first time meeting our doctorate student, Sherril. Needless to say, there was definitely a lot of learning that happened. 

First, our Tuesday at the fishpond. All of us were eager to being our first 'real' research day. We started by setting up all our own equipment, with Judy watching to see how well we had been paying attention. 
Our group is ready to go!
Left to Right: Brian, Andrew, and Lissa
     I think both groups learned very quickly that fieldwork was trickier than we all thought, especially navigating to our assigned sites. But one important lesson learned was, double check everything and take your time

The second group  (Laura, Ty,  Israel, Kaua) trekking to their first site.

Andrew, Lissa, Brian, and I getting work done. 
     Besides the technical parts of the day, it was really nice being out in the pond. My group got to go to see the mangrove island and how deep it can get around there. And one of the great perks to the internships is that I get to have this view of the Ko`olaus.

Heading in after our first long work day. 
Next, our first Saturday and first time on Coconut Island. It felt like everyone was pretty keen to finally meet Sherril and to see what sort of lab things we'd be doing. After brief introductions and finding out how cool an accent from Trinidad and Tobago is, we got down to business.

     We learned a bit about Sherril's research, mostly about the idea of algal canopies as microhabitats and how the water properties differ from the inside and outside of the canopy. One group was sent out to collect water samples of algal canopies from around the island, the other to stay and weigh the algae samples collected from Tuesday and to process the benthic microalage samples also collected Tuesday. 

Sherril talks with Lissa and Laura as they wash
and weigh the algae samples,
     Israel and I were the two sent to learn how to process the benthic microalgae samples. It was pretty cool seeing the giant centrifuge in the lab and I definitely felt like a legit scientist when we got to use the spectrophotometer.    
Sherill getting the centrifuge ready.

Israel working with the spectrophotometer.
     I think all of us were in agreement that Saturday was a long day. Many of us were fighting fatigue near the end. But we had learned a lot, performed some lab techniques (Winkler titrations!), and saw more of the data processing side to things. Luckily, we did get to enjoy the island a little too.

Some Winkler titration action going on

Check out the fish!
So there it is, our FIRST week of 'real' work. Oh, and hope you enjoyed the first blog from the second half of LAIP 2012 interns --Laura, Lissa, Ty, Andrew, Brian, Kaua, Israel. Entry written by Ky.