This blog will be following my San Francisco Expedition with National Geographic and the Smithsonian
Institute. It will also follow my own work on my senior research project for LSSU.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Day 5: Sample Collection and Processing

First of all, I need to apologize for being a day behind on my posts. We have had really late nights and very early mornings that have caught up to us. Our second day out on the reef was extremely successful. We were able to collect over 30 specimens. It was a great day. The sun was out and the temperature was perfect. We really could not have asked for a better day for collection.

It was another early morning. We had to rise before the sun came up in order to be in position for low tide. Yesterday, my pants (even rolled up above my knees) were soaked, so I decided to where my swim trunks. It turned out to be a smart move on my part. We needed to collect all of the specimens that were in the vicinity of the cube, since they are found in the same habitat and could reasonably be considered to have passed through the cube.

I caught two crabs and a Sunflower Starfish. One of the crabs was pretty cool. It had barnacles half encircling its carapace making it seem like it had a crown (see picture). The Sunflower Star was really slimy, but it was really soft as well. Some of the other Stars were hard and rigid. I had to go in up to my chest to get the big crab and the Sunflower Star. The water was super cold. Oddly enough my legs felt fine in the water. It was my chest and stomach that were cold.

We went back to the house to process the sample soon after we collected our samples. The photographs that we were taking needed live specimens and therefore required us to quickly process them (identify, photograph, then take DNA samples). After the photographing I assisted Dr. Christopher Meyer in taking DNA samples for the BioCode project. The BioCode project is attempting to bar code (genetically) all of the organisms on the Earth. It is a bold attempt, but from my point of view it is a good endeavor.

All in all we sampled 31 specimens: Flabellina trilineata, Rostanga pulchra, Cadlina modesta, Geitodoris heathi, Doris montereyensis, Limaeia cockerelli, Diaulula sandiegensis, Doriopsilla albopunctata, Phidrana hiltoni, Triopha catalinae, Peltodoris nobilis, Patiria miniata, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, Henricia pumila, Tonicella lineata, Nereis vexillosa, Fissurelli bimaculatus, Epiactis prolisera or Aulactinia incubans, Heptacarpus sitchensis, Pagurugranosi manus, Tonicella lineata, Anthopleura elegantissimal, Pagurus samuelis, Celliostoma ligatum, Paguristes bakeri, Pagurus hirsutiusculus, Pachygrapses eressipes, Cancer entennerius, Aglaophenia sp., and Aglaophenia sp.


Sampling and choosing a spot to place the cube

A potential placement site for the cube

The Sunflower Star that I caught

The waves breaking on the rocks became the soundtrack to the expedition

A polychaete worm (one of my favorites)

After we caught this Starfish it released its babies. They look like the noodles in Chicken and Stars soup.

A couple of anemones

This shrimp was pretty cool. Its entire body was green tinted, but completely see through.

Our specimens

This tiny crab was about the size of the nail of your pinkie finger.

This was an awesome Nudibranch

A Chiton

This was the Nudibranch I photographed the other day

Another Starfish

The shell of this snail was really cool. It was striped all along it in a spiral pattern.

More of our specimens

A Purple Sea Urchin and some snails

This bucket was mostly filled with different species of snails

This was the crab I caught at the same time as the Sunflower Star.
The photography rig that David uses to take the amazing white background images

This starfish was really cool

One of my favorite crabs.

The underside of one of our starfish specimens

The shape of this crab was unique in that it was triangular

This was an awesome Nudibranch.

1 comment:

  1. Those starfish babies are so cool! They really do look like noodles! I liked all the different crabs too. The big guy really does look like he is wearing a crown! I am so glad you are getting such a great experience!