Ashely Moreland, Student Technican
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Posted on August 17, 2011 | Permalink
Student Technician Week in Review
Last Wednesday, I had the privilege to ride on a ferry out of Lewes, Delaware in order to witness the sinking of the USS. Arthur W. Radford, a retired naval battleship that was to be sunk and incorporated into the New-Jersey-Land reef almost 30 miles off the coast of Delaware. The ship had been stripped and hollowed out in preparation for the sinking so that it could provide an underwater habitat without bringing any unhealthy materials into the water with it. After the ship was towed out to see, more holes were cut into its sides and its hull was opened and allowed to flood. It took several hours before the ship started to tip to one side, but other than being slightly off balance, the vessel showed little interest in sinking. Once the holes in itís hull went below water level and the ship started to really flood, it only took about a minute and a half for the entire vessel to disappear below the surface. This was very interesting to see in person, and I can now say that Iím a witness to the sinking of the second largest ship that has been purposefully sunk for reef building purposes off the coast of the United States.
On Thursday and Friday, I attended the Maryland Stream Symposium in Carroll County and participated in various stream related activities. One of the activities involved having to use a dichotomous key to identify a large variety of freshwater fish, some of which included channel catfish, chain pickerels, rsyface shiners, northern hogsuckers, and the like. Immediately afterwards, I attended in class in which I got to use a similar method for identifying various freshwater mussels. I had almost no experience with identify bivalves prior to this class, but now I know various anatomical features by which mussel species can be identified. Next on the agenda was a herptofauna search, for which we got to explore a stream and its riverbanks. We found a few different species of salamanders, such as northern duskies and two-lined salamanders, and we also found a couple different frogs, such as bullfrogs and pickerel frogs. The last activity I was able to participate in was a class on identifying benthic macroinvertebrates. Using a dichotomous key, I was able to look at various specimens under a microscope and identify them as different aquatic invertebrates, such as mayflies, caddisflies, dragonflies, water beetles and so on. I had a lot of fun learning how to identify a large variety of freshwater organisms and even learned a bit of taxonomy along the way.