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Moravian College students walking along grassy windswept clifftop on Oregon coast w/ocean in background

Oregon Coast Day 4

May 17, 2018

IMG_0370.jpgToday was another early morning at about 5:45AM and at that time I ate a peanut butter sandwich with some fruit roll-ups. The trip was a lot longer compared to our usual ten to fifteen-minute drive to field sites--this time it was an hour to reach our destination at Cape Blanco. I did not mind the journey over since I had the opportunity to catch some shuteye before beginning yet another journey. That and it felt like my body was still adjusted to the time on the East Coast so it felt like 8:30 when I normally would get out of bed for classes.

Every time we arrived at a site to conduct our work, I always looked around and admired the beauty of the area. I never thought the West Coast would be so diverse with its surroundings and marine life.  When I looked over to where we would all be working, the area reminded me of scenes from The Hobbit an Unexpected Journey. We would have to walk down a long path on the hill in order to reach our destination. At the site, it was probably the most challenging day moving about the area. The rocks were slippery due to the sea grass and the snail mucus left behind on the rocks, meaning that one false step could lead to a slip, which happened quite a few times. 

View of Cape Blanco intertidalSpeaking of snails, the group project that I am currently working on is about seeing how much force it will take to displace a snail and the hypothesis is that a larger snail will have a greater ability to hold onto a surface than a smaller one. The assumption is that the larger the shell size, the larger its foot will be, giving more surface area for a snail to make contact with a surface. With this, we recognized that there was an abundance of snails at Cape Blanco so we decided to collect as many snails as possible to test. We believe we collected over 200 snails, which surprised Dr. Lord and said we may have over collected. I think that was due to the joy in collecting and finding different types of snails. 

View of Cape BlancoAfter performing a few quadrat samples to measure the diversity of marine life, it was time to leave and make another journey uphill. On the journey back, I needed to carry the bucket with the snails that I collected with my group and realized that it will be a challenging exercise. On the way up with holding the heavy bucket, I felt a sense of adrenaline and excitement since it felt like I was working on my arms and legs at the same time. It was tiring walking up and I sweated a fair amount, however, I felt a sense of accomplishment in carrying that heavy bucket uphill. This trip has not only worked on my mind in learning more about the marine life around us, but also worked on my body from jumping rock to rock, climbing on surfaces, and going up some steep hills. I felt not just satisfied intellectually at the end of the day, but physically as well even before lunch began.

Click HERE to read the entire Oregon Trip blog series!