You are here

Week 2: Moving forward into the nitty gritty & NSF Site Visit

Monday: Finished up the background readings and feel like I have a good understanding of the study area and what we’re trying to accomplish. Discussed the project in more detail with Logan and Grant- what we hope to gain from each step, the planned scope of the project, and specifics about the dynamics of the model and study area we’re working with. I then took the plunge and began working with UNIX commands and Matlab- software in which I’m not quite familiar. I worked on tutorials as well as testing out several commands and scripts to see what type of figure was created and tasks they performed.

Tuesday: I continued my exploration of Matlab, becoming more comfortable with the programming language so that I would be able to complete necessary tasks for data analysis of my project. Also, while I was working on my introductory practice with Matlab, I was paying attention to Logan’s work as he troubleshooted errors and wrote more script for data analysis to help me learn as well. I was then able to view the script that Logan had been using for his data analysis and proceeded to go through the script and make sure I knew what each command was and why it was used. After working through most of the script, my next step was copying Logan’s data into my directory so that his Cunningham Slough data would be available for input into the script, so that I could view the figures on my laptop. I started thinking about downloading data for my study area, Baker Bay, and converting it to the correct format which can be utilized in Matlab. This is the next step in the process of initializing work on my project.

Wednesday: Such a big step into beginning work on my project! I downloaded temperature and salinity data from the CMOP website, and loaded the data into Matlab. Using Logan’s script as a guide, I plotted the data on separate graphs. Moving onto incorporating model data was the next step, but there proved to be problems with Modext and absence of files with model data for the specific days that I am focusing on, which are within May of this year. Backing up, I am focusing on Baker Bay because it is an area near the opening of the estuary to the ocean, so there is ocean significance, meaning salinity measurements, a parameter not included in areas more upstream of the Columbia River. The next step in the process is identifying a time interval in which there is available model data so that I can make the comparison between actual data and model to conjure an error analysis.

Thursday: This was a highly anticipated day for everyone at CMOP. After days of preparation by CMOP staff, representatives from the National Science Foundation finally arrived to conduct their site visit. The intern group was able to view the presentations and initiatives by researchers throughout the day via webcam. The overall session made for a long day, but I found each presentation pretty interesting. It struck me that across all of these seemingly disconnected disciplines, there truly is a common goal that brings them together. I particularly enjoyed being able to see Mojgan Rostaminia’s e-poster because that is the project Logan and I are associated with. Having her present the project helped me fill in the holes, so to speak, of areas of the project details that I was still lacking. It also gave me some insight as to how the flow of the project works and an appropriate way to illustrate it. Another highlight of the day was having the privilege of being introduced to Roy Sampsel, chair of the CMOP external advisory board, as well as a leader in groups such as CRITFC, the Institute for Tribal Government and Tribal Leadership Forum. He seemed very enthusiastic when informing us about the importance of issues facing tribes along the Columbia River. Afterward, there was a section of the presentations devoted to ‘Knowledge Transfer’, in which he delivered a very eloquent and moving speech about how he is simply the start of the organization of CRITFC and that there must be a strong interest and continuation of his work so that there will be a better future, in terms of fishery and natural resources, for tribes in the area. Meeting with members of CRITFC is another component of my research project that I’m eager to begin. Logan and I will have the chance to travel to the agency and be a part of this aforementioned ‘Knowledge Transfer’ aspect soon. After listening to these presentations, the thought that resonated within me was a desire to partake in a career that allows me to not only conduct research on a coastal environmental issue, but in addition to working on resolving this issue, also share my knowledge on the topic with surrounding tribes that may be affected by the issue. All in all, I have even more intent on improving the health and environment of tribal communities because, as a Native American myself, I feel the need to give back to my community and help them (in my case, using scientific means), so that I may be an example to others that they can too make a positive difference in their communities. On a lighter note, after a full day of work, there was a night of play- swing dancing. Missy Gilbert took Stefanie, Logan and I out for a night on the town in Portland. We received a sped-up version of beginner’s lessons and then took to the floor. Though being pretty tired from the earlier portion of the day, I enjoyed having a few dances (even though I was a really bad dance partner) and being able to just hang out with the other interns in a non-work setting.

Friday consisted of working more on plotting model data for salinity and temperature in Baker Bay during the month of May. Mojgan, one of our mentors, proceeded to show us another method of extracting data from the model for the particular time interval we needed. It was a different approach to what we had learned previously, so we’ll probably be converting to using this method. There was also the requirement of adding a new script to our files, so that we had the correct commands to perform this approach. Logan and I will be meeting with Grant to discuss how we are to move forward on Monday.