This term I am taking Dr. Steven Jessup’s Protists and Fungi course as my science elective. Jessup requires our class to collect samples of specimens for a project. These samples can be lichen, algae, land-based, aquatic, etc. Calvin (one of the other students in the EE program) and I went to Ashland Creek to collect aquatic samples. Mind you, it is January in Oregon – there is snow on the ground and the creek is partially frozen – so, it’s really cold! You may be wondering, “Erika, if you could collect samples from an assortment of environments why would you choose Ashland Creek, in January, when it’s 25°F outside?” My response, “I love aquatic environments, and I strongly believe, what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger!”
So as I was saying, Calvin and I collected samples from frigidly cold water taking frequent breaks to sit in my heated car and drink hot tea (kindly provided by one of the other students in the EE program, Jenna). It took us a whopping 3 hours to collect 16 samples but it was totally worth it… even if we couldn’t feel parts of our fingers for the rest of the afternoon.
We brought our samples to class in quart jars, enriched the samples, then waited, and waited. About a week later we saw all kinds of awesome organisms. There were diatoms of all shapes and sizes, cyanobacteria, tiny flagellates, and other weird little things with blinking organelles in our enriched samples. We are still in the process of investigating our samples. What follows are some pictures from the sample sites, my journal and a short video of some of the cool things we are finding.
Drawings in my journal of our aquatic samples. Click on photos to enlarge.
And here is a short video of unknown organisms and our excitement!