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Sea Education Association | SEA Currents

SEA Currents: Woods Hole Partnership Education Program



Working out in the Field

Miranda Van Allen, University of Rhode Island
SEA Semester

Panoramic view of Stony Brook marsh

Today my mentors Meagan Gonnea and Jennifer O' Keefe Suttles took me out to the field where we analyzed data from the marshes that are being used within the project that I am working on. One of the marshes that we visited was Stony Brook, which is located in Brewster, MA. That is the panoramic photo shown, and as you can see it was a bit of an overcast day.

The forecast for today, as of yesterday, was a clear skies with 80 degree weather so I was anxious to get my hands dirty walking around in the marshes all day until I woke up this morning to check the forecast once again to find that there was a 50% chance of rain. But, nevertheless, science doesn't stop for a little rain! We got to our first marsh which was Stony Brook were there was very clear geological and vegetation changes in regards to tidal flow. The photo shown is the restored salt marsh where there was once a restriction to tidal flow and had been opened up to restore the ecosystem's natural state. Here, since there is a lower salinity than the natural salt marsh there are a wide range of freshwater marsh plants that inhabit this area. Phragmites, the common reed, is a very common freshwater marsh plant that is very easy to spot. You can tell by its tall structure and the flower on top looks very similar to wheat. This marsh was where we had the worst luck with the rain. It was raining pretty hard by the time we got out to collect data from the YSI readers. Although we were writing on "waterproof" paper it was still very difficult to find a utensil that would withstand writing through this rain. It was a very quick shower, though, and the rest of the stops were a breeze.

Going out in the field today gave me a new perspective on what it's like to get out of the office to collect data in the field. It was very fun having some quality time with Meagan and Jen as we chatted in the car rides to and from the marsh. Whether rain or shine scientists will always get the job done!

- Miranda

Categories: Woods Hole Partnership Education Program, • Topics: pep  life on shore  resesarch • (0) Comments
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