Research and Interpretation Go Hand in Hand

As the season progresses, there are more and more beautiful days at Yaquina Head. Being that it’s summer time, even early mornings when I go monitor the murres and cormorants don’t seem so early because the sun is already out! I have to confess, after waking up early so many times, I have officially become a morning person and my night owl nights are fewer and fewer.

My murre friends have not returned to the rocks to lay more eggs, and our one and only murre chick seems to have died. It’s pretty sad, but the odds weren’t exactly in its favor. On a more positive note, we have been getting more prey photos, although it has been tricky figuring out the right timing that murres will be around. Prey photos are key in determining what murres are eating and whether or not they are getting the best nutrition. This is not just an indicator of murre health, but the health of the overall ecosystem. Everything in the system (whether its obvious or not) is connected in various ways. What may be lacking for one species will eventually affect another, and that may or may not affect people as well. We have also been seeing more cormorant chicks and they have been spotted exploring their surroundings outside of their nests. This is definitely a sign that they will fledge soon!

On another note, tide pooling was amazing this week and not because we had a particularly great low tide, but because I had a great opportunity to interact with so many different people. Many people that I came across had really great questions, and I felt so useful being able to answer them! One specific group was getting ready to leave the tide pools without having seen any sea stars. Of course I offered to show them some, and the happy look on their faces was truly priceless! It felt so great to be able to provide a service for people. I love interpretation!

The more I work at Yaquina Head and with the Seabird Oceanography Lab, the more I realize just how dependent research is on interpretation and vise versa. There is no point in doing research if there is no one to share that information with, and likewise there would be no information to share if no one was curious enough in the beginning to so some research. Truly, one can’t have one without the other and I for one am really grateful that both fields exist.

Isabel Justiniano
ijustiniano93@gmail.com
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