Methods

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Observations and Experiment:

Morphologies and Life History

Native vs. Invasive

Tunicates in Immunology

Organisms in the Rocky Intertidal Zone

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            The first trip taken to Northeasternís Marine Science Center in Nahant, MA, was September 8, 2006. Observations of the location were made and preliminary research questions were asked. A topic was chosen and planning was done for the next trip.

            The second trip taken to Nahant was September 22, 2006. It was approximately 24 degrees Celsius upon arrival at 4:00pm. Though the tunicates first seemed elusive, upon further searching, a set of tide pools were found with numerous colonies. The tide pools were measured, photographed, and assessed for tunicate colonies. An iButton was placed in the tide pool to record the temperature. Four colonies of tunicates were measured using a small ruler. The longest section across the colony, the shortest width of the colony, and the longest width of the colony were all recorded. Their location relative to a transect line was also noted as to be sure to return to the correct colony. Observations were made of the tide pool and the surrounding intertidal zone.

            The third and fourth trips taken to Nahant were November 3, and 4, 2006. On the 3rd, it was approximately 7 degrees Celsius upon arrival at 3:30pm. Observations of the intertidal zone and previously recorded tide pool were made. With the assistance of Professor Robertson, small colonies of Botryllus schlosseri and Botrylloides violaceus were collected. A putty knife was used to remove the organisms from rocks in the lower, middle and high intertidal zones. These colonies were then placed in plastic boxes filled with water from the measured tide pool. Other substrates that were covered partially or completely, such as mussels, small pebbles, and various algae species, were collected and placed in the boxes. On returning to the lab that night, the colonies were tied (by Professor Robertson and Professor Livdahl) with cloth line to slides, placed vertically in a slide rack, and moved to an aquarium with an aerator. The aquarium was placed in a room with a constant temperature of 15 degrees Celsius.

            On the 4th of November, the conditions were similar to the day before. Observations were made of the entire intertidal zone and pictures were taken to record findings. Several other collections were made, and one measurement of a previously recorded colony was taken. The tunicates were again taken back to the lab, tied to slides, and placed vertically in aquariums.

            The following Tuesday, November 6, 2006, several colonies were retied to secure them to the slide. The colonies on different substrates were separated from the colonies on the slides and placed into two smaller aquariums. Each aquarium had constant aeration. The tunicates on the slides were observed under dissecting scopes to see whether any new growth was present. Over the following week, the water in the aquariums was changed either every day or every other day. That Friday, November 9, 2006, the colonies were again observed under a dissecting scope. However, no signs of life were evident.