Last week, we finished up our last transects at both Cherry Cove and Little Harbor and began to statistically analyze all of our data. At Cherry Cove we got very similar data to what we found in Isthmus Cove, which is really what we needed. The layout of Cherry Cove was very different than compared with Isthmus in that it was much more densely covered in rocks past our 15 meter range. There was also a greater abundance of larger rocks present as well and more rocks that were stacked on top of each other. When the rocks are stacked on each other, this leaves more gaps under the rocks as opposed to rocks and sand underneath. But when the rocks were stacked, this left much more room for sea urchins and brittle stars to be under the rocks, so we saw a higher density of sea urchins alone in Cherry Cove.
When analyzing our data, one of the major trends we found with respect to brittle star abundance was no significant difference between the three sites that we surveyed, not including Little Harbor. The three sites had approximately the same amount of brittle stars observed under rocks. This makes sense due to the similarity of each site including the reduced amount of wave action, the similar sediment type which is mixed with sand and small rocks, and a large amount of rocks in our size range. Further analysis will go into each distinct site and how all four sites (including Little Harbor) differed from each other to try to analyze most of the probable explanations that could impact brittle star dispersion.
Our last day was filled with so much fun and excitement to go back to the mainland mixed with some feeling of sadness that our fun times here would have to come to an end. It’s safe to say that it was a great experience that I will never forget and I’m glad I got to share it with some really awesome people.