Thursday, March 28, 2013

Filtering in the Sun

One of the most beautiful of days I have seen at the fishpond, March 19 was a great day to be filtering at the fishpond. The day started off like many of the usual water filtration days. We all emptied out the CRV and set up the filtration devices and the chlorophyll filtration device. Upon completion of this we were split up into groups. One group was to wait for the boat to return from crab trapping to then go out and collect samples from various sites and test the water quality (my group), and the rest were to stay behind to do the various filtrations from the samples that were previously prepared, thanks to Danielle.

This was my first time getting to ride the boat, and it was a bumpy start. The tide was going out, thus the water level was extremely low and we had to struggle to get the boat off the dock. Upon reaching our first site, Danielle realized that we forgot to bring a sheet to mark which spots we stopped at and in which order. But with quick wits it was decided to use the camera to take pictures of each site in order. It was a very beautiful day to be working at He'eia fishpond, and probably the best day yet on the Windward side during the internship. I was very fortunate and blessed to be able to do research on such a beautiful day, and not be stuck in doors wishing to be outside.

The best part about this experience was on our way back to site 11. While the boat was driving, I was scanning the water with my polarized glasses on for any site of marine life. Before reaching the site I saw something in the water, and to my amazement it was a white eel with black spots on it, with a more pointy nose and a slight yellow tinge to it. It wasn't a very big eel, only about 2.5-3 feet in length, but was definitely one of the more interesting creatures I have seen in the pond. Unfortunately, out of my excitement and trying to get the other two to see the eel, I forgot to

take a picture. After finishing the last two sites (site 11 and 13) we headed back in to turn more samples in for data collection. From here we cleaned up and then helped with the usual filtrating. Like the last filtering session we faced unforeseen problems. The TSS filtration papers we used were faulty and wouldn't show a clear distribution of sediment on filters. It will definitely be forever known as one of the most beautiful days at the fishpond, for me at least.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Zooplankton and Coconut Island

Zooplankton Part I - 3/12/13

     This Tuesday we were with Sherril and Judy. We continued with our efforts on the study of what kinds of zooplanktons are present in the fishpond as well as its surrounding walls in Kane'ohe Bay. From this data we hope that Pae Pae can use it to determine what kinds of species are residing in the pond, if it is a nursery of some kind, the origin of the zooplankton (river-freshwater, brackish water, or ocean-saltwater).
     We were split into partners and assigned sites in the fishpond to collect zooplankton in a 153 micron net for 3 minutes about 20 yards in circumference around the marker point. 
  • Tiffany and Sherrine - Center of fishpond
  • Laura and Christian - Makaha 3 & 
  • Michelle and Jake - Mangrove Island
  • Pua and Jordan - 
  • Michelle and Sherrine - 
   Along with the netting we also collected a bottle of water to measure for salinity using a basic floating hydrometer that used the buoyancy of the needle to determine the measurement in parts per thousand.
     Once we were done with our collections we headed back in to first observe the plankton in free swim, then killed them with 1 mL of ethanol to preserve them to quantify and identify. For each zooplankton concentrate collected 4 sub-samples were observed and quantified to increase accuracy as well as precision.

Zooplankton Part II - 3/16/13

     On Saturday we were lucky to go on island and visit Sherril on her home turf, Coconut Island also known as Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) or Moku o Lo'e. When we landed on island we were first greeted by Mike and Leon from the Community Education Program that were our hosts as we used their Learning Center lab facility and microscopes. Both Leon and Mike were both extremely knowledgeable about the history of the island, the creatures that inhabited the island, and the research conducted on island. They even told us the fun facts about how it was a zoo during Hawai'i's territory age, a tuna packing facility, and even a R&R during World War II.
     When we headed to the lab we continued with our work quantifying, identifying, and observing our sample collected on Tuesday. 
     After lunch we were surprised to experience what visitors of HIMB can sign up for through the Community Education Program. Leon and Mike setup a presentation and a fun lab mocking what happens on the Super Sucker. The Super Sucker is a boat that goes out occasionally in Kane'ohe Bay and vacuums the large invasive algal beds smothering the coral from sunlight. We learned that coral contains zooxanthellae,  a one-celled photosynthetic organism that provides the coral with necessary nutrients from the process of photosynthesis. So without sunlight the zooxanthellae cannot provide the coral with food and thus starving the coral reefs. 
     Once the algae is sucked up it is laid onto a a sorting platform where workers pick out different organisms that might have been caught in the mass of invasive algae. What the lab set up did was allowed us to be the "sorters" and "scientists". We took the bucket filled with invasive algae and the organisms caught in it and separated them into their general phylum. 

Basic Marine Phylum:

  • Porifera - sponges
  • Mollucs - clams, oysters, bivalves
    • Cephalapods - octopus, squid, cuttlefish 
  • Cnidarian - jelly fish, coral, polyps
  • Annelids - segmented worms, fireworms, feather duster 
  • Tetrapods - shrimps, crabs
  • Echinodermata - brittle stars, sea cucumbers, tube-feet organisms, spiny skin organisms
  • Tunicates - sea squirts
  • Chordates - fish
     We also had a separate container for the invasive algae and native algae (fishermen's eye). 

     Once we were done with the activity we tallied up the number of each species in each phylum and set them all free, except the invasive algae which were probably bagged up and sent to taro farms as nutrient-rich fertilizer.

     After the lab we had a little extra time on our hands so Mike, Leon, and Sherril took us around the island for a lour of the learning sites as wells as the research sites located around the island. Some areas included:
  • Eyes of the Reef - A network started up by researcher at HIMB on coral. The program educates the public about possible ways coral can get damaged. Either from predation, invasive species, coral competition, coral bleaching, coral disease, and even mistreatment by locals and tourists alike.
  • Shark Experiment  
  • Touch Tank - The learning site in part of the Community Education Program where visitors can experience and touch certain, different marine life living around the island. Animals included mushroom coral, sea cucumbers, tiger cowrie, collector urchins, and much more. 
  • Octopus Tank - We were lucky that Sherril knew her stuff about this experiment since her roomate was the research in charge of the project. We observed the two different tanks that contained the night and dark octopus. Sherril also explained to us that her roomate was researching whether female octopus had multiple mates because they had the characteristic of housing sperm within themselves. So through genetic analysis, she hopes to find her answer!
  • Tuna Tank 

Thank you HIMB for having us LAIP-ers visit! It was the best Saturday yet! Special thanks to Leon and Mike for hosting us!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sample Collecting Saturday....sorry so late!

Here we are, getting ready for another research filled day with Danielle.  It looked like it was going to be a wet day out, and I think we all kind of felt a cloudy day was ahead us.  After we batten down the side wall, we start unpacking all of our gear for the day.  Today, Jake and I are going out on the boat with Danielle to collect YSI data, and to collect bulk water samples to take back to the “lab” for the gang to process.

        So after finally getting the boat packed up, and a few more trips back into the “lab” to retrieve some odds and ends, my crew and I head out to do some serious data/water sample collections!  As Danielle navigates and gets us to each stop, Jake gets the ultimate arm workout for the day (and he does hold it all day!), as I keep time and fill out the paper work. Good job Jake!  I donʻt know which is harder, holding the YSI for up 4 min and 30 secs, or trying to correctly keep track of the time!  I think I like the lab...... 

  It turned out to be a beautiful day in Heʻeia.  We were out collecting data almost all day!  I didnʻt think it would take that long, but when we got to places like outside of the wall in the bay, we needed to wait for the sediment to settle so that we can properly collect the data and water samples.  Check out the Koʻolau’s in the background.

Even though Iʻve known this mountain range all my life, it still blows me away each time I see it.....always leaves me speechless. LUCKY WE LIVE HAWAIʻI !!

Here, we are going out to get our samples at one of the three river mākāhā at the loko iʻa.  There are three fresh water mākāhā, and three ocean water mākāhā that help to create the brackish water which turns the pond into the perfect breeding ground for herbivorous fish.  It takes a lot of team work to keep everything moving smoothly, every so often Danielle would bring us in to dock and drop off whatever samples we had collected so far so we could keep the lab techs busy.  It was a long day, but I think we did pretty good and got done what we needed to for the day.  Good work interns! 

                                                   Danielle and Pua working on the 25mm rig.

   Michelle, Jordan, Christian, and Tiffany are filtrating the water samples for TSS, SEDEX, and APA/DOC.    
  So ends our day at Heʻeia, mahalo Danielle for the cruise around the pond and to Jake for holding the YSI all day. And, so sorry for the late post, I was having some technical difficulties with my blogger. Mahalo to Mo, and Judy for helping me work it out! A hui hou LAIP-erʻs.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Welcome to He'eia!

Alas after numerous counts of avoiding to blog, it is now my turn to post something onto this page!  I'm never good with words so here you guys go!