It’s day 3 here on the wonderful Catalina island. Despite the 3 day delay it took getting out to the island due to a sink-hole related water outage on Wrigley, things have been going very smoothly. Contrary to typical island excursions, “island time” isn’t in our vocabulary as we have been working cohesively and are efficient with the time we have been allotted on the island both in the lab and underwater. Not only are the scientists in the Edwards lab working as an efficient team, but our new friends from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories make us wholly an “A-team”. So far, it has been raining at night and a little bit during the day so visibility has been about 10 feet less than it was on the beautiful 50-foot vis, day one “shake down” dive. We are the only group doing research at the time on the station so we have a lot of room to spread out, organize, and effectively execute our research plan.
Yesterday, the SDSU crew went out to Isthmus for chamber deployments. 5 collapsible benthic incubation tents (CBITs) were installed inside the rhodolith beds with sensors measuring pH, dissolved oxygen content and light intensity. This was replicated in the adjacent crushed rhodolith bed so that we will be able to analyze the magnitude of disturbance mooring lines have in this location.
In addition to the deployments, live rhodoliths were collected along with a bucket of sea water at depth. These were taken back to the lab for physiological experiments in the form of photosynthetic productivity and the difference in values between clustered and crushed samples. Initial complications came when we began taking YSI data because the stir rod created a turbid current throughout the BOD bottle. After some time troubleshooting with myself, Matt and Dillon, we were able to come up with the solution of creating a weighted mesh bag out of fishing net to contain the specimen within the bottle. The 370-micromole light filter originally used was taken out of the protocol following this alteration because we felt that the bag compensated for a filter. After this, it was noticed that the data recorded in the YSI software was not as variable.
Today, more uniform point contacts, invertebrate swaths, fish surveys, benthic percent cover and diversity within quadrats will be conducted. Just like yesterday, within transects, more cores will be taken and brought back to the lab to sieve excess water so we can freeze them in preparation for their trip back to SDSU for invertebrate sorting. Another grouping of the cores will be used in the separation of live and dead coverage and the third will be used for recording size frequencies. Along with core sorting, the MLML crew will be using their clay “mock-rhodoliths” that were made yesterday to observe rhodolith disruption around the moorings at Big Fisherman’s Cove.
That’s the latest and greatest with this SeaGrant! Stay tuned for more trip updates in the coming days!
California Seagrant Funding R/HCE-04