This past week was the final week of field work in Waikaraka Estuary. Deb and I are feeling shell-shocked by how quickly the time has passed. Every day has been action packed (except for one wonderful afternoon when we eased our achy backs in a hot spring). We spent lots of time this week trying to think of any final measurements we might want. This finality is a stressful aspect of international field work. We can’t easily come back to collect more data if we discover that we’re missing an important measurement. The pressure is on!
A lovely hot spring in Taupo, NZ (Photo credit: Hannah Glover)
One final and exciting measurement that we were able to collect this week is the surface elevation of the estuary. In 2005 when Deb was collecting data for her PhD, she put concrete posts into the estuary to provide a fixed reference point for surface change. These posts don’t sink, so she measured the relative elevation of the ground around the post over the 2-3 year period of data collection. And, we discovered that the posts are still in place! This is very exciting because we can now compare the current elevation to the measurements Deb collected. It is rare to collect these types of measurements over a decade and be able to directly address surface elevation changes.
Left: an elevation measurement post covered in barnacles after 10 years in the mud. Right: we attach an arm and measure the elevation of the ground all around the post. (Photo credit: Hannah Glover)
We have an exciting data set and I’m looking forward to tackling all this information back in Seattle.