Today was a majestic day!
In the morning, we boated over to Shaw Island and collected eelgrass from 12 experimental quadrats in the vast eelgrass meadows along the sandy beaches of Indian Cove. (Yes, it is in fact a true grass, not a seaweed, that spreads along a rhizome root system.)
The purpose for our collection is to track the percent of Eelgrass Wasting Disease (EWD) in the surrounding area. The eelgrass meadows serve as a nursery for many of the organisms in the San Juans. We saw many nudibranchs and egg casings, in addition we saw many crabs and fish (including the gunnel pictured below).
After collecting the grasses in treatment (culled) and control plots, we brought them back to the lab to measure length/width of the 2nd longest blades and the length/width of existing lesions. Rachel and I measured those from Quadrat 2 & 10, both were culled treatments and we measured about 10% with EWD from each. Afterwards we plated one of the clear lesions and one of the extreme more sever lesions we observed to isolate the slime mold, Labyrinthula zosterae, which causes the lesion.
One final majestic moment was when we had just returned from collecting and a bald eagle with a giant fish in its grips flew past! Truly AWESOME!!!