Bill Palmer- Day 4

Today we made collection plates and went crabbing. We have a fund raising presentation scheduled for this evening.

Lukas and I made collection plates from plastic plates and PVC pipe. To make the plates use a factory produced collection plate with a hole drilled into one end and a piece of 3/4 ” PVC pipe Secure the plates to the PVC pipe using locking ties. Run one locking tie to the PVC pipe through the hole into a hole that has been drilled into the Plate. Next, you attach an additional tie to the plate and around the pole.

Plates have a smooth and a rough side. The plates were assembled so that the rough side is on the right as it faces you. After assembly arrows are drawn onto the top of the plate pointing to the rough side of the plate. The arrows are to ensure  researchers know which side is the rough side after the plates are exposed. (These plates will be placed at the “sand bar” tomorrow.)

The fund raising presentation went well. I did not get to see all of it as I got lost on the way to it. PhD. Disney however said it was a big success.



14 August 2013

Slide show (Must be downloaded)

Today was an interesting day. First thing in the morning we went to count crabs at Hadley point.

The 1st thing that was done was PhD Disney briefed the teams of volunteers that had showed up. Then the teams were given equipment to conduct the census: a clip board, with pencil, data sheet, and pictures for determining the crab sex; a GPS to determine location; a transect line; a quadrate to make the 25cm X 25cm area of study; and a trowel.

Teams were disbursed along the Hadley Point Beach to begin their survey. It was low water so teams laid  out transects parallel to to the low water line. Standing on the end of the transect one team member threw the quadrate over their shoulder without looking (this was so that the area was random). Next the team marked the area with garden trowels and got the coordinates using the GPS. The teams would then dig down 10 to 15 cm looking for crabs. The results were recorded on the data sheets. This procedure was repeated seven times for each transect.

Each team did transect in three different locations. They were asked to look at the low water line, the mid water line, and the high water line. The Surprisingly enough these surveys resulted in few crabs.

Each team then began a crab hunt. Looking randomly for crabs. At first the results were disappointing. Then we made the discovery that the crabs were hiding on the downward edge of the rocks covered with seaweed covering them. We used this information to discover many more crabs.

Our results were interesting. We discovered more mail crabs than female ones. Not surprising was that the females were smaller that the males.

In the afternoon we again conducted water quality  tests. This time in four different locations. This means that the lab is constantly do tests at eight different sites. I was interested to find out that these tests were conducted biweekly by members of the staff and their results were kept and made available for Maine Department of Marine Resources.

August 13, 2013

(You will need to save this and then play it.)Aug 13, 2013-Lucas Crabbing

Today was a hurried day. Expecting bad weather we planned on doing work in the lab. This lab work included recording data and preparing for tomorrow. Jane had also requested that I help align some of their curricula with the Next Generation Science Standards.

Lucas, George, and I went out around 930 AM to do a crab census. It was pretty foggy out there so George had to pilot the boat using the GPS. George has been working here since the early 1970s and has excellent  seamanship. The results of the study were similar to yesterday; we had more males than females. Two exceptions to yesterday were that we had a Jonah crab and a female with eggs. Upon returning, Lucas recorded the data into a data base that is being maintained.

I worked the rest of the morning between several jobs. The first of these was Lucas and I getting boxes ready for a crab census we are planning on conducting tomorrow morning. Secondly, lLucas and I  prepared a box with the items needed for tomorrow  afternoons water test.

With the help of the Bailey’s we discussed the Next Generation Science Standards. Our discussion included where the standards came from and sources of them online. Jordan and I looked at ways pre-assesment strategies especially those created by Page Keeley.

During the afternoon Lucas showed me how the lab used several GPS programs with the crab data. One of the programs the lab uses is ArcGPS a program that Maine students will have on their iPads this coming year. How cool is that! Students in Maine will be  using the same programs used by professionals.

Post script on yesterdays water quality tests. When we were taking samples and processing them the reactions were not taking place the way they should. I mentioned to Jane that she was modeling some of the Next Generation Science Standards. After examining several scenarios it was determined that Jane had used a test kit whose chemical were beyond their shelf life


Bill and Tango’s 1st Day

1st day-Movie Click here for a movie of my first day (This movie will download.)

I arrived last evening and was quite surprised at the amount of activity going on at the lab. There are high students here taking courses and doing research. I sat across the table from a high school student who was engaged in research under the watchful eyes of the staff scientists. Excitedly he told me about his research. I thought to myself what a wonderful thing it was for him to have this opportunity.

Today, therefore, was the first day of my internship at Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL). There were many introductions. I got to meet PhD. Jane Disney – Staff Scientist and Director, MDIBL Community Environmental Health Laboratory; Hannah- scientist and research assistant; PhD. George Kidder – head resident scientist; and  Shannon- another scientist and research assistant.

The first course of action was to plan out our week. This had to wait until our first day together because of two important factors. First of these was the “mystery” of why no eelgrass. Secondly the weather here in Maine is constantly changing so planning five days in advance is the best one can do.

It was decided that we would go “crabbing” in the morning and take water samples in the afternoon. George Kidder, PhD was to operate the boat while Jane Disney, PhD would pull the crab traps. I was to learn the ropes. You may recall one of the considerations in the planning was the lack of eelgrass. It is suspected that one of the causes of the grass disappearance was due to the crabs.

We collected crabs from inside and outside a test area the staff had fenced off. The fencing technique may need to be revised, as there were over 30 crabs of various sizes inside the crabs pulled from within the enclosure. A similar number were recovered from traps adjacent but outside the enclosure. While there we observed crabs climbing on the fence inside and outside the enclosure.

Crab data was collected and recorded. Jane explained to me that the green and red crab species we have here are considered to be in dangerous levels so the captured crabs were not returned to the wild. The center is conducting research on the red crabs so those are given to the scientist who is conducting research. The green crabs are humanely disposed of (frozen and then used as bio-compost).

In the afternoon we did water sampling at four locations around MDI. Several samples are drawn for testing dissolved oxygen, nitrogen, and turbidity back at the lab. While on board the boat, standard site information is recorded such as location, water temperature, wind speed, wind direction, air temperature, and water temperature. Then it’s off to a new location.

Once all the sites had been visited it was back to the lab. At the lab Jane explained to me the importance of good record keeping establishing and maintaining good rapport with the Department of Marine Resources (DMR).

The rest of the afternoon was spent processing the water samples in the lab. While doing this work Jane and I discussed several simple ways to make the data the center was collecting more user friendly.

It is interesting because during supper in the superb Dining Co-op I dined with one of the animal keepers of MDIBL. It was very informative to hear her speaking about the various systems here. We discussed her duties and what it was like to perform them. She informed me that this was a terrific place to work, the work was interesting and the scientists were fun people to work for.

It’s been an interesting first day so I’ll close for now. More tomorrow (weather report says rain, yuck!).