perjantai 11. elokuuta 2017

Fieldwork in the USA vs in Finland: same same but different

After a great 3 weeks working out of Tirmo (Porvoo), Team 31 made a week long stop in Espoonlahti for more vegetation surveys and to check up on the rare meriuposkuoriainen. The windy days and storm-runoff didn’t make the job easy but we successfully surveyed a new section of the bay and even made three meriuposkuoriainen sightings!

Anna S was our sharp eyed hero that spotted the beetles (Photo: Metsähallitus / Anna Soirinsuo)

We have now moved on to the Pori area and are looking forward to exploring the area. We have joined up with the Korpoström survey team and will be working here together for the next week or two. I hope one of them can cook. Team 31 still has two more blog entries coming up so stay tuned for more updates on your favorite Metsӓhallitus marine survey team!

This is my first year with Metsӓhallitus. Before I moved to Finland, I worked with oyster reef communities on the coast of North Carolina in the United States. There are a lot of things that are the same about the work and a few that are very different. The work itself is very similar. In both North Carolina and Finland we walk/float/boat/paddle our way to places most people never go and proceed to collect/photograph/write down what we find. The pelkkarit are kind of new to me but they aren’t that different from waders. However, the difference in water temperature does change how some of the work gets done. In North Carolina, my field clothes were a swimsuit and an old pair of sneakers, t-shirt optional.

Me and my favorite North Carolina fish, the oyster toadfish (Opsanus tau), enjoying a beautiful day in the marsh (Photo: uncredited)

The water was typically between 20℃ and 30℃, so the only protective equipment you needed was sunscreen. The weather made you indifferent to the wet and mud so things usually became dirty quite quickly. Picture kids in a mud puddle but with advanced degrees. Here I have clothes against the cold, the wet, the wind, and I still need sunscreen. Another major difference is rocks. It seems like all the interesting places are surrounded by rocks just waiting to cause problems for the boat. In North Carolina most of the bottom was sand so you could be quite bold with how you drove the boat. Here you need to always keep an eye out for rocks. But the biggest difference in my opinion is that the Baltic Sea has no tides. In North Carolina the tide influences every single decision you make and you are constantly aware of the tide prediction and the time. The tide determines: when you go out, when you come back, where you sample, what direction you walk, where the boat can reach, where the boat can leave from when you are finished, what species you will find, what equipment you need, and how fast you need to work. The tide is omnipresent. It is also a lot of fun. The tide adds so much variety to the environment, always forcing changes that favor different species throughout the day. The weather was nice and made it easy to work on the water, but I think I miss the tide the most. Oh well, back to work!

- Luke

Beautiful day for field work in Espoonlahti (Photo: Metsähallitus / Luke Dodd)

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