Saturday, 21 April 2012

Making Friends (warning, lots of pictures!)

Over the last month there have been a lot of students coming and going at the marine station, which means I've been playing out on the boats and the shore a lot (and trying to keep up with office work the rest of the time).

First up were 100 students from Glasgow university. 6 boats trips run so we could get them all through. Thank goodness everyone was on the ball. The first trip on Thursday was.... lumpy... and I did have one very sick student, but everything had flattened out by Friday morning and (following a quick bit of boat maintenance) we had 3 lovely trips.

I was out on the RV Actina with Kenny and Campbell. On the trips we demonstrate a beam trawl and a grab to provide samples for identification. Along with receiving information on the Clyde ecosystem the students are encouraged to get their hands dirty. 

Kenny expertly demonstrates proper use of the grab

And Campbell ties off the cod end of the beam trawl ready to go

And this is what we got... 

including a very unhappy sea scorpion

Although you wouldn't know it now we also had a spate of gorgeous weather which makes for brilliant sunsets.

Also haunting the shores and seas of the Clyde were Sussex University. A lovely small group which freed me up to not only get a lot of my own work done, but to take some pretty pictures. It also meant that both myself and the boss could get out on the boats, so we had good sightings of the returning sea birds along with harbour porpoises and fantastic views.

We were out on Aora, the larger of out two boats, which is a great platform for survey work. Aora also takes on contract work and is equipped for lived aboard trips, unfortunately I've yet to find an excuse to go out and join them on a trip.

A lazy Pagarus hitches a lift on his larger tank mate

Waiting for the sun to burn off on the boat trips

Phil distracts students with the contents of the grab sample enabling me to take a few sneaky pictures

Its amazing how much happier people are when its sunny...

And last, but by no means least, these are my new American friends from Colgate University, New York, who are spending a semester in the UK. My first group that I've helped out on solo... SO MUCH FUN! 

And so enthusiastic. I managed to get pictures of other peoples faces on the boats, but this group were elbow deep in the catch trying to find something new and I barely got a look in! 

Below are pictures from our rocky shore transect. Here we looked at distribution of rocky shore specialist species and carried out a timed Shore-Thing search for invasive species.

The guys waste no time in running out their transect line using the range poles to calculate the beach profile

Whilst Damhnait is watching one group I took the opportunity to snap a sneaky photo.

The students head out to White Bay for their second survey

Not stone on the island was left unturned (but all were carefully turned back again)

Swift surveys prevent trouble with the tide

I measure the danger factor in Wellies. For example this student ins 2/3rds of a Wellie away from wet feet.

Netted whelk, Hinia reticulata, from Brandy Bay  

I hope that everyone who was around last month had as much fun as I did. Come back any time!