Semester Research Recap

This semester I went to Santa Rosa Island 5 times to conduct research.

Recap of the weekends:

The first weekend we found all the site where we were going to survey at and what in particular we wanted to focus on.

The following four trips the stream team went out into water canyon and did multiple cross sections every weekend. Up until now, there is a total of 15 cross sections.

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Collecting this data came with many challenges. As with all field research small problems came up. Luckily, there hasn’t been an issue that has been too big to solve. The biggest challenge that I have faced in my research so far is identifying unfamiliar plant species. When the plant is easy to take a picture of with clear details, is still living, or has flowering parts, the process of identifying it later is much easier. Not only have I spent hours in the field identifying plants, but I have spent numerous hours indoors looking up different plant species to correctly identify plants that are in my cross sections. Grasses have become my nightmare in the field the last five trips.  I plan to master identifying grasses before going out into the field in January. Hopefully, this will minimize the number of hours looking up plant species after the fieldwork is completed.

I still have more fieldwork I plan to collect over winter break and next semester. In January, I will be on the island for two weeks straight. This large amount of time will allow me to complete my terrace data (the transects that contain all my grasses), finish the cross sections we had planned out, and add in any new cross sections to complete my data set. I will also be able to run sediment analysis on the areas that I am surveying to complete that aspect of my research. Next semester,  I hope to have the majority of my research done so I will be able to focus my time on data analysis and writing my paper. I will take trips periodically if the data set is not complete or if there is any severe environmental changes, such as heavy rain storms due to the El Nino.

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