March 17, 2018 by Dr. G

I wrote ten blog posts documenting my journey at OCEANDOTCOMM. You can find those posts through the tag #odotcomm18.

This afternoon was our first of many fieldtrip options we have during OCEANDOTCOM. The options for today were to go aboard the R/V Acadaina for a tour of some habitats with trawling and bottom sample grabs, or to tour the salt marshes and explore restoration efforts. I decided to attend the salt marsh trip with Dr. Denise Reed, who spoke to our group this morning.

We headed out on three different boats (I was on the pontoon boat) and explored areas of the salt marsh. We stopped at several locations to explore the vegetation (grasses, trees) and take cores of the marsh (mainly layers of mud and plant roots). I appreciated Dr. Reed’s stories as we traveled, especially the story of the oak trees. She shared that oaks were much more abundant in this area, when the water levels were lower. Now, that water levels are rising, the root systems of the oak trees are getting too wet. They are “unhappy” and are dying. These are some images of the boats, Dr. Reed, and the dead oaks.

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It was also interesting to hear Dr. Reed speak about large objects found abandoned in the marsh. For example, this boat probably washed in from a major storm that came through. Because it would cause more environmental damage to the marsh to remove the boat than to leave it there, the boat is left to sit on the marsh grasses.

My favorite spot and stop of the day was our first location – orginially, this was completely under water. But now, this area is becoming stabilized by dredged material and plant growth. This ground sunk slightly under our feet as we walked around. You can still see the tire tracks of the tractors as this material was pushed around. Around the edge is a rim of material higher in elevation. In the video clip below, Dr. Reed discusses the trade-offs of quickly establishing a marsh vs. having an area where fish can inhabit. (*I apologize for the sound of the wind – but thankful for the wind, as it kept the mosquitos away!).

View Dr. Reed in the salt marsh

Oh, and did I mention the mudcracks??? This was so cool – my first undergraduate research project was in my Junior year of college. I was in a Microbial Geology course, and I looked at the mathematical representation of the cracking of mud. I took lots and lots of photos of mudcracks, using a marker for scale in the image. At that time, cameras used film, and I took an entire roll of film to the drug store to get processed. When I picked up the print photos, the cashier said, “boy, you really do love your Sharpie.” Clearly, he didn’t realize how fascinating mudcracks can be. And today, when I was taking mudcrack photos, someone asked me why I was taking photos of a Sharpie! But check out these images, and how amazing it is to see the plants pushing the mud out of the way to grow and stabilize the substrate.

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One final favorite part of the fieldtrip I’ll share was seeing this unique type of levee – Dr. Reed referred to it as an “open levee” that allows water and fish to flow through the levee. The access and flow is completely controlled by humans. See. Dr. Reed explain this part of the levee system.

Dr. Reed and the levees

We made it back to the field station for dinner (I had quite the amount of mud covering my feet – and we weren’t able to wear our muddy shoes in the dorm!).

The evening wrapped up where everyone came together to share their ideas for their Coastal Optimism projects. There are some creative projects being completed – i can’t wait to see all of these finished projects! (and I need to move my further along – yikes!)

Tomorrow – more fieldtrips, and a dinner with two Tribal groups. The natural and cultural piece tomorrow will certainly be a highlight of this weekend!


This blog post was created from OCEANDOTCOMM and supported by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON).

2 thoughts on “LA – OCEANDOTCOMM, Day 2, PM

  1. […] I joined a tour of the salt marshes to explore restoration efforts, led by Dr. Denise Reed. I blogged about that fieldtrip (visit to view images and to hear Dr. Reed speak), and here is the part of the trip that served as […]


  2. […] Field trip of levee system with Dr. Alex Kolker–> Field trip with Dr. Denise Reed that included an ocean-view look at the flood gate–> Construction of this quilt during the […]


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Finished this fun data visualization/quilt top that shares the daily Sky Cover measurements from @joides_resolution #EXP390. As sky cover is recorded in units zero to eight, I chose eight different batik fabrics to represent the scale (the deepest blue batik for the blue sky, and the darkest/black batik for when the sky was completely clouded over, and all shades of blue/grey in-between). As the expedition officially was April 7 thru June 7, 2022, there are 62 pieces of data/batik strips. The background fabric is filled with golden stars for the sky, and the bright gold border is my nod to our port city, where the fabric was purchased.
Thank you @SciHistoryOrg for hosting Start Talking Science 2022 - so great to be able to present alongside other Philly scientists about the work we do to a non-STEM audience of all ages! And a great opportunity to share the mission and how we do science at sea on @theJR #EXP390 #EXP393
Back at @pennlivearts this evening to hear the @blindboysofalabama - so incredible, so inspirational! The new songs were great, but my all-time favorite will always be Amazing Grace sung to The House of the Rising Sun (check it out if you have never heard this innovative mashup).
🎼 I love live New Orleans jazz - and tonight, I didn’t have to go to New Orleans, as the jazz came to me! 🎶 Such a fun concert by @newbreed_brassband. 🎵 The best part - the sousaphone player’s high school band teacher was there & brought his trumpet on stage and joined them for a few songs. 🎺 After the first song, he said he was getting emotional, as he was so proud of the group. I get it, teacher, I’m there with you.
Added something new to my teaching space this fall - images of @joides_resolution, expedition patches, and the combined IODP, ODP, & DSDP drill site map! Thanks so much to Brittany (JRSO) for updating the map and getting the sites for #EXP390 & #EXP393 on there! Excited to have these in place before doing a ship-to-shore broadcast later this month (it will be a little strange being on the other side of the iPad this time, but can't wait to share this experience with my students).
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