CSULB: In the Field

Deploying the seine via kayak. 

Today’s late post is delightfully due to my day of field work for a project underway in the CSULB Wetlands Lab. That’s right, I love biology so much that I spend my spring break away from my lab…working with another lab. However, today was a special treat for me as I was able to go out and work in one of the wetland areas that is currently being monitored after restoration. When I go ‘into the field’ for my research, it usually means a quick drive to the greenhouse to check on algae cultures. While my situation is incredibly convenient, it still doesn’t compare to a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway to spend the morning and afternoon seining fish.

Seine is pretty much fancy ichthyologist talk for corralling fish into a net and bringing them up to identify, measure, and count. Ichthyologist is pretty much fancy biologist talk for weird (yet, awesome) people who are really into studying fish all the time.

Gathering up the net very carefully. Don’t want any fish to escape!

Today’s site, Magnolia Marsh, is owned and managed by the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy as part of an attempt to acquire and restore the remaining coastal wetlands in Huntington Beach. Between 1970 and 1989, 90% of California’s naturally occurring tidal wetlands have been destroyed by human influences (Dahl, 1990).  Restoration of this marsh began in April 2009, and restoration of the historical marsh channels and full tidal influence were completed in March 2010.

Monitoring of different species (birds, plants, fish, infauna), in addition to exploring food web structure dynamics is an important part of the restoration project on marsh wetlands. Previous restoration projects can provide insight into the changes you should be able to observe while the effects of the newly restored channels and full tidal influence are occurring. It’s a good way to identify what you’ve done right, and what might need to be done differently in the future.

An adorable sea slug that has flattened out.

Other projects by CSULB graduate students in the Huntington Beach Wetlands include:

  • examining microbial diversity 
  • a project exploring the impacts of  climate change on restoration
  • utilizing a marsh organ to simulate the effects of sea level rise
  • fish translocation between restored marshes
  • planting strategies in the marshlands
    Biologist’s First Sea Slug
            Dahl TE. 1990. Wetland losses in the United States 1780s to 1980s. US Fish and Wildlife Services Technical Report 21p.

Questions of the Day:
What is your favorite marine species?
What sort of field work do you thing astronauts on Mars would do?


3 thoughts on “CSULB: In the Field

  1. Ahoy! I think a lot about science. You do too, der, and when I was listening to Fresh Air on npr tonight, I couldn't help but think about you. It's an interview with Jonah Lehrer about his book “Imagine: How Creativity Works.” He talks about the creative impulses that happen in repose. (http://www.npr.org/2012/03/21/148607182/fostering-creativity-and-imagination-in-the-workplace)

    Anyhoo. Just wanted to share that.

    My favorite marine species is the mimic octopus.
    I bet Mars astronauts would do field work about how to grow crops in an environment with less atmospheric pressure… I looovvvveee reading about planetary agriculture.


  2. Thanks so much for thinking of me and sharing. I listened to it earlier while knitting and enjoyed it a lot! Always share cool stuff like that, I love that shit but never have time to seek it out these days (aka Thesis Days). You understand.

    Funny you should be so intrigued by planetary agriculture, another applicant I've talked to (Josh Nelson – his blog is linked) worked on that question for his research! Maybe he'll write a blog post about that! I'll put in a good word!

    Mimic octopi are epic. I'm looking forward to seeing whatever James Cameron is seeing THIS WEEK in the DEEPEST POINT OF THE OCEAN. I would probably go and see the ocean bottom in 3D. Who's in?


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