The final day on Catalina Island is upon us and while is was difficult to fit in everything that we wanted to do in the past 5 weeks, I think both Kim and I can say that we were very productive in conducting our research, but also made time to have fun!
While Kim may have chosen fun over sleeping more that I did (she hiked “Megastrea Mountain” at sunrise and stayed up to watch the meteor shower this week) I am pleased with the amount of adventure and exploration I fit in during my time here, and I am going to miss it! Conducting our own field and lab research projects truly brought good wholesome fun into science. While I have always been interested in biology, doing this Marine Biology Quarter is much more valuable than learning biology in a classroom because the ecology and behavior of organisms are observed first hand.
This week we did get a first hand experience of one of the the challenges of filed work: if you place something in the ocean, you may not always be able to find it later. This “something” as you may have guessed, was the iButtons. About a two weeks ago we attached two iButtons to rocks at each location we surveyed, totaling in 12 iButtons. On Monday we spent five hours at Isthmus and Campground only to recover three of the four iButtons we were looking for, one of which was damaged and did not collect data. On Tuesday we spent six hours at Cat Harbor searching (with the help of our generous volunteers Dovi, Colin, and Satthea) for four iButtons, but only found two. Finally, on Wednesday we returned to Little Harbor where four iButtons once again had been attached to rocks, and with many eyes looking we recovered three of the iButtons!
Although we were not able to recover all of the iButtons we think (and hope!) that the 8 iButtons that we were able to retrieve will provide enough data for us to see if there is a significant difference in the the average temperature and temperature range between locations.
Although everyone was quite busy finishing up their research and fiddling with R Studio this week, we did all get to spend some time together on our day trip to Little Harbor. Not only is it a beautiful cove, but it was a clear, sunny day and we had it all to ourselves! What beach have you visited lately that was not crowded with people?
Today we leave the pristine beaches behind and go back to Los Angeles, where we will statistically analyze our data and write our papers for the next three weeks. Although I will miss it here, I am very thankful for this experience and proud to be a Bruin!