Had a ridiculously good field trip to the Scripps Coastal Reserve today with my section from MARS 451 (Bio Oceans). We took to the shores, notebooks in hand, to examine some of the environmental gradients faced by sandy shore organisms; to look for examples of patchiness (and mechanisms producing it); and to try and identify major players in the sandy beach community.
We could not have had better weather or a more inquisitive, engaged group of undergrads and grad students. We found mole crabs, Donax, polychaetes, Pismo clams, amphipods, kelp holdfasts - the list goes on and on - so much for the idea of a depauperate community. We also ran into some folks from the Dayton Lab at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, surveying the effect of trampling on the rocky intertidal just to the south of our study site.
Anyway, being out in such a beautiful place, with such a great group of students, almost makes me feel guilty calling this my "job"!