Samples from the remote end of Santa Cruz Island!

Michaela MillerRobyn Shea (our research coordinator) and I were able to go to the west end of Santa Cruz Island for a quick trip this weekend.  This end of the island is owned by the Nature Conservancy and is travelled only by researchers with special permission.  We arrived on island Friday afternoon and left Saturday.  Even though our trip was lightning fast we were able to collect data for both projects from Christy’s Beach, Sauces Beach and Frasier Point on the west end of the island. Due to the earliness of the season I was only able to find adult crabs on one of the beaches but did collect sand from all three.

I have some preliminary results!


Today I finished processing the 20th sample population of sand crabs and put together a small graph to share.

The sample sites are listed from North to South along the California coast.  Each bar represents a percentage of the sample population collected that was found to have ingested microparticles.  Of the 20 sample populations, two did not have any micro particle ingestion, however the other 18 sample populations had sand crabs that ingested microparticles.    Each sand crab found to have microparticles was photographed and recorded. I am interested to see how the rest of my samples look and plan to have a more complete set of results in the next 2-3 weeks.

Working with LiMPETS in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

Spoke with Monika Lynn Krach from the LiMPETS|Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary to collaborate in Sand crab collection as well as future student education.  Monika runs the program for kids learning science through intertidal and sandy beach surveys and has collected more sand crabs for the project!  We are sharing procedural information as well as data as the group is tracking parasites inside of the sand crabs.  I will be creating a video for the students explaining the micro plastics procedure and writing in the LiMPETS blog to share my research.  I am very excited to have more groups involved in the education of the public and hopefully some ideas on how to fix the problem!

Amazing presentation at Ventura Surfrider!

Tuesday night at Patagonia headquarters Dr Clare SteeleMichaela Miller and I presented our Pervasive Plastics research to the Ventura Surfrider chapter.  The rise above plastics campaign from the national surfrider foundation is directly inline with our overall project of removing plastics from our sandy beach and marine environment and educating the public on the need for change.

We were able to discuss our current projects and where we are headed with the different facets of the plan.  I was very excited to meet so many other people that love the beach and want to protect it! I hope that more students from The ESRM Dept at CSU Channel Islands will be able to share their projects and be able to achieve a higher rate of public involvement.

Finishing up the data processing

As of today I have sample populations of Sand crabs from 16 beaches processed and will be sharing this data at the Surfrider meeting Tuesday evening. I have been lucky to find 6 undergraduate students that are interested in working on the different aspects of my project! This will rocket forward the processing of the 50 plus sand samples I have in the lab and allow me the time to finish processing the 26 other sample populations of sand crabs I have.

So far 14 of the 16 sample populations have had sand crabs with particles or fibers ingested. I know that every single sand sample processed has had fibers and/or particles in it so I am interested to find out what the remaining crab samples look like.