Thursday, October 7, 2010

More Field Adventures!

This past Monday (October 4, 2010) a few fellow students and myself headed out to the field to collect some water samples.  This particular work was for Coley Hughes, a lab mate and fellow otolith investigator.  Coley is investigating the natal origins of Striped bass in the Albemarle Sound.  Since our study area overlaps slightly and I generally just like to be in the field I tagged along. 

The sampling areas on this particular day included the Pasquotank River, Currituck Sound, the North River and the Little River, these areas are situated in the northeastern part of the Albemarle Sound.  The day started off in the Pasquotank River;
Gorgeous autumn day!
Coley Hughes and Jeff Dobbs excited to be in the field
it was cold and windy.  Of course me being a rugged northerner decided shorts and an t-shirt were all I would really need on a day like today, I mean it's North Carolina right, how cold could it be.  To answer "pretty damn cold".  When the wind is howling and you get soaked by crashing waves it can be pretty frickin cold as I would come to find out.  To make things worse we experienced some minor boat issues that had all of us thinking our day would be cut short.  However, when those issues were sorted out things ran pretty smoothly with the exception of the rough weather.
video
It's always fun trying to stay balanced when boating in rough weather and I give Joey Powers mad props for getting us back to the boat launch with no problems (the video doesn't really give a good perspective on how big some of the waves actually were).

After getting off of the Pasquotank River we headed over to Currituck Sound (no pictures due to be soaking wet and not having a water proof camera).  By this time I had put on some waders, so even though I was not that much warmer I was slightly more dry.  From there it was off to the North River;
Joey Powers and Jeff Dobbs Collecting water in the North River
Things starting to calm down
Fortunately by this time the weather had started to calm down and the North River was actually quite pleasant, until...
Back to the Pasquotank!
we headed back to the downstream section of the Pasquotank River and were immediately greeted by more rough weather.  However, a funny thing happened on the way to the Little River;
Could it be?

Maybe?
It is! The sun started to come out just as we were finishing up
The sun started to come out, the wind died down, and we finished up collecting our samples on a high note. 

Having seen the entire Albemarle Sound region over the course of the summer and early fall I can definitely appreciate how beautiful the sound really is.  For the most part large areas of the shoreline remain undeveloped and are lined by conifers and cypress trees (at least I think that's what some of these trees are, what can I say I'm no dendrologist), I even saw a pod of dolphins in the early spring when I was sampling with the NCDMF.  Yet anthropogenic activity is well represented by the numerous houses and agricultural activity surrounding the watershed. 

I think the reason I am so intrigued by the sound, and estuaries in general, is because they represent an interface between the marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and increasingly humans.  This is probably why I am interested in anadromous species, because for at least one part of their life they are dependent on a habitat that is so closely linked to humans, and I have always been curious and fascinated by this interaction. 

1 comment:

  1. rain gear? we don't need no stink'n' rain gear! when we went out, i always packed to be cold...with the exception of tevas during some cold times (silly girl!). video does not capture the fun of rough weather on the Albemarle. i remember coming back to the boat ramp at E.C. one time with waves that would have swallowed the boat without a second glance. i was very happy to have garry and brandon aboard and getting us around safely.

    good times!!! field work is the stuff!

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