Monday, October 29, 2012
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Monday, July 16, 2012
Just for fun, courtesy of East West XXVI alum Natalie Low, who has just returned from working with Jon Witman in the Galapagos, here's video proof of behavioral similarities between fish and cats. The damselfish are particularly entertaining.
Friday, May 18, 2012
The facilities at Friday Harbor Labs are fantastic and the whole area is very reminiscent of the Northeast, an area that most of us call home. The weather was great and even when it was cloudy and drizzling it added to the overall atmosphere. The labs and dorms were all really well maintained and help make FHL a spectacular place to study.
Peering down at the intertidal from the FHL dock ramp
Geared up and riding the elevator down into the water
Assembling on the dock post dive
Preparing for underwater surveys
Taking a break on the FHL trails
After MCB we started Marine Birds and Mammals with Breck Tyler. This was an exciting class for those of us in love with sea birds and harbor seals. We all had another opportunity to put together a presentation on a local conservation topic as well as conduct lots of field work. We had to really focus on learning our IDs because we conducted surveys on the Centennial, the FHL research vessel, as part of another long-term survey. We also enjoyed a trip to the local Whale Museum, a whale watch (where we saw many individuals from the local Orca pods!), and a few birding trips as well. Overall Marine Birds and Mammals was a ton of fun and a class that took advantage of the outdoor environment here in Friday Harbor.
Walking along the beach during a birding trip
One of the many Orcas seen on our whale watch!
Our last class was Physiological Molecular Marine Ecology with Sean Place. As our final undergraduate class we got to have more practice using techniques learned earlier in the program. We conducted RNA and protein extractions from Mytilus galloprovincialis (Mediterranean blue mussel) and Mytilus edulis (blue mussel), transcribed our RNA into cDNA, and then observed how stress related gene expression changed due to hypoxia or thermal stress. It was a great way to synthesize a lot that we had learned and also provided us the freedom to explore a direction that interested us.
As the graduate students finish up their last class, a communications seminar with Matt Bracken, it is hard to imagine that Three Seas for us has finished. From the late nights spent at the MSC, to dancing at La Iguana in Panama, and the mad dash to finish our presentations at FHL, Three Seas has been a life changing experience. We want to thank all of the faculty, TAs, staff, and other individuals that keep this program running and make it so rewarding. We look forward to taking the lessons we’ve learned with us on our next adventures.
- East West XXVIII
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Natalie Low (East West XXVI, 2009-2010) and I recently published a paper in Ecology Letters where we describe how realistic losses of rare species from the base of the food web on Gulf of Maine rocky shores can have major consequences for how those systems work. In particular, those species represent an insignificant proportion of basal biomass, but their loss results in disproportionate declines in the animals in the system. We call these rare species the "cornerstones" of the communities, as they represent only a small fraction of biomass at the base of the food web, but they dictate the structure of the entire community. Virtually every portion of this project, from preliminary surveys that set the stage (EW XXVI), to the field experiments, to work this past fall to establish some key mechanisms by which rare seaweeds can disproportionately affect the animals that eat them (EW XXVIII, 2011-2012), involved students in the Three Seas Program. Way to go, guys!