Thoughts on the ocean, the environment, the universe and everything from nearly a mile high.

Panorama of The Grand Tetons From the top of Table Mountain, Wyoming © Alan Holyoak, 2011

Monday, July 9, 2012

Field Marine Biology at BYU-Idaho - Spring 2013

I'm pleased to announce that I just received administrative approval to offer, for the first time ever, a field experience in marine biology for BYU-Idaho students.  This field experience will be offered during the first block of the Spring Semester 2013.

Students who participate in the experience will enroll in Marine Biology (BIO 314 - 3 credits), Undergraduate Research (BIO 499R - 3 credits) and, 1-credit of Readings in Biology (BIO 401R).  

The field portion of the experience will be taught at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB) on Coos Bay, Charleston, OR.  The OIMB is the marine biological station of the University of Oregon and has a beautiful campus.  I visited the OIMB for 4 days last summer and was extremely impressed by the facilities and the nearby habitats for learning and teaching.

The photo below shows the main entrance to the labs with a research building in the foreground and the administration building in the background. 

All of the buildings at the labs share a similar look and style.  Very Oregon!  Very Beautiful!  

This building below houses the dining hall and kitchen.  The upper floor is devoted to dormitory space.  When it is meal time one of the cooks comes out onto to this building's porch and rings a large, loud, brass bell.  You don't want to miss that - or the food!    

The photo below is one of the two main teaching lab buildings.  Each of these buildings houses two teaching labs.  One is a dry lab building, while the other building's labs have running seawater tables.  The upper floor of these buildings are also dormitories.  

This is the teaching lab our group will use when we are not in the field.  The lab accommodates 20 students, and this (and dorm space) is what sets the limit to the number of students who can participate in the trip. 

These are the seawater tables that run along one wall of the lab where students can hold marine animals for demonstration purposes, and where lab experiments can be carried out.

If you've spent any time at all at a marine station, you know that there's a volleyball court someplace.  Here is the one at OIMB.  Volleyball seems to be the sport of marine biologists everywhere. 

This photo shows some of the grounds at the OIMB. It's a beautiful and well-kept campus.

This is the OIMB library.  It's a very nice place with hard copy holdings focusing mainly on the biota and habitats of the Pacific NW.  While you are at the labs, you have access to the University of Oregon's on-line databases, etc.  So, it's a pretty sweet deal!

Even the maintenance buildings and motor pool look nice!

If you walk farther up the road, past the main lab buildings you will come to a row of cottages where visiting researchers and visiting instructors are housed.  They are named appropriately, Cottages 1-4.  

If you continue all the way to the end of the road, passing a housing complex for the US Coast Guard you will reach the Boathouse lecture hall, shown here.  This building was built originally to house rescue boats for the Coast Guard.  Today it serves as a large lecture hall for the OIMB.  Originally, there were large doors that opened, and rescue boats could be run down a sloping pier into the water.

Right next to the Boathouse is the Beach Cottage.  This small 2-BR cottage was, according to Craig Young, Director of the OIMB, the first building that was built for the Coast Guard when it was established during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt in 1908.  Before 1908 the US Life Saving Service, the Coast Guard's predecessor patrolled America's beaches and treacherous shores.  

Charleston is a working harbor, and the marina/harbor is right across the street from the OIMB.  Also anchored in this marina is the OIMB's research vessel, the RV Pluteus.  While we were there it was being outfitted with a heavy duty winch in order to allow it to handle the station's newest acquisition, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that can go as deep as 600 meters.

This is the RV Pluteus.  My students and I will go out on the Pluteus at least once to do plankton tows and bottom dredges to collect samples for analysis in the lab.  

The OIMB is right across the street from a commercial cannery and working fishing harbor.  This means that the operations across the street are industrial and commercial.  In other words, there's not really anyplace to go right next to the marine station, which really helps students focus on their work without a lot of outside distractions.  So it's not all bad!

The next few photos show the intertidal zone in front of the Boat House at low tide.  We were there during a very nice low tide series.  It had to be at least -2.0'.  You can also see the remains of the old pier where the rescue boats were run out into the water.

If you continue on beyond the Beach House you will come down over a small cliff onto the OIMB beach. It's a small pocket beach between the shoreline and a breakwater.  My daughter Emily is in the foreground.

The rocky intertidal zone beyond the beach looks like it's in great shape - not very trampled.  There is LOTS of algae and surf grass, as well as a nice diversity of invertebrate animals.  It'll be a nice place to introduce students to this habitat, and it's just a short stroll away from the lab.

I look forward to returning to the OIMB in Spring 2013 with the first group of marine biology field course students.  

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bro. Holyoak, this looks like a wonderful trip, wish it was available when I was a student at BYU-I. I encourage all students interested in marine biology to attend. There is nothing like being knee deep in the real thing to get you fired up about biology. I am finishing my Masters of Science in Marine Science at Hawaii Pacific University now, but I often think back fondly to by BYU-I days, and am grateful for your help and mentoring. Good luck this coming year!

    Angela (Leemhuis) Hansen, BYU-I graduate 2007