The plight of the field biologist

I had hoped to be joyfully reporting on all the progress I am making down here in the Sacramento Delta. I had hoped to be posting pictures with all the cage building, clam numbering, and cage placement, but I forgot my camera cord.

Also, I seem to have not only been very optimistic about what we could accomplish during a low tide, but to have also angered the wind Gods.
The answer my friend, is sure as hell not blowing in the wind. The wind is ruining my project! It is making what is already a very short window of opportunity to work in the marsh, even shorter. It is blowing all the water back into the marsh making the low tide hardly discernible.

To give you an idea, I had hoped to collect 216 clams on Monday and place them in 45 cages Tuesday. We collected 108 clams, most of which are probably going to be too big for my study, and placed 20 of the clams in 10 cages yesterday.
I am usually good at rolling with the punches when I am conducting field work down here in the Delta.

The problem is that I have a very limited time frame to conduct experiments and collect data using methods that I have never done before. They are all made up in my own little head. So, it is impossible to know just how long most of the work will take and how the weather will, or in this case will not, cooperate.

Usually I am off, but not by so much that I am not able to pull out my handy dandy Plan B (sometimes we even get to Plan X).
However, this time around the tides and winds are conspiring to make it so difficult to work out there that it doesn't matter how many plans I make or how many alternative methods I come up with, there simply isn't enough time. We are operating in a two hour time frame, at most. Monday it was more like an hour. And part of that time has to be spent actually wading into the sampling area.

Okay, are you confused yet? Why am I putting clams in cages, you are wondering? Why is she complaining again, you ask?

Or maybe you are on pins and needles with this field biologist soap opera of mine. Perhaps you are wondering, will she collect and cage enough clams to get the proper statistical analysis? Will the wind ever die down?

If it's the latter, stay tuned to see how our heroine fares in the rugged landscape of Liberty Island and her plight to research the invasive Asian clam against all odds.


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