RIPTIDES Marine Science Class heads into the field!

Here the students are shown evaluating plant community establishment on the windward and leeward areas outside of seasonal pools at the Sears Point restoration project on San Pablo Bay. They, along with one of MSCI 709's intructors Dr. Kathy Boyer, have been talking about restoration features that can aid in sediment accumulation and building of marsh elevations. The students documented that the abundance and richness of the plant community was much increased by the protection afforded from wind waves along the leeward side of the pools. In the process, the students learned to identify the salt marsh vegetation, to make careful decisions about what data to record to best answer the question at hand, to utilize basic field ecology tools including transects and quadrats to estimate percent cover, and to observe the accretion of fine sediments at the site (first pic shows students stuck in this mud!). The students also learned about the ~500 earthen mounds that were constructed to reduce wave energy and aid in accretion and vegetation establishment. At the time of these pictures, the mounds were no longer visible as the tide had come up.