My second week at FSU Coastal and Marine Lab included a lot more time in the experimental hatchery. It was great to be in the hatchery again with the staff that I volunteered with during the Spring Semester. Since last Friday, I have become involved in three projects: intertidal sampling, subtidal tonging and an experiment in the hatchery involving salinity levels for oyster larvae.
The portion of intertidal sampling that I focused on this week was a batch of oysters from the East Cove region along the bay. To process these oysters, I weighed each of their individual weigh boats and recorded the oyster’s measurements of height, length and width. I also identified the mantle of oyster flesh and cut off a small portion in order to test for bacteria. Following this, a research technician I am working with taught me how to identify the sex of a mature oyster using a microscope. To do so, you cut a small part of the gonad area of the flesh and view this under the microscope in order to identify the egg and/or sperm. I then recorded the sex of all 30 oysters.
My work in subtidal tonging isn’t as interesting to write about but strangely enough, I do enjoy data entry! My job for this project is to record the data collected in over 200 sites from the field in an excel sheet which will be used for data analysis in the future.
The most exciting part of this week was working with graduate student Emily Fuqua under Dr. Sandra Brooke in order to test oyster larvae survival in varying salinities. My responsibilities for this project included counting the larvae using a microscope (see the picture for what a day-old oyster looks like under 10X), performing stociemoetry and conversions in order to dispense the correct quantity of oysters into each tank, measuring salinity using a refractometer and adjusting the salinity to the desired level.
Overall, this has been a very enriching and unique experience, with very little to transition into because it is fairly close to Tallahassee. The 1 hour drive to the laboratory can be a bit taxing towards the end of the week but the more I settle into this schedule, the easier it becomes.