Hurricane Irene and the Cage Experiment

Rob Diaz de Villegas WFSU-TV

For a few months now, we’ve been telling you about an extensive field experiment being conducted for the biogeographic oyster study. As David posted earlier, it was a complex undertaking that took a lot of hard work- long hours and physical labor- to get up and running.  Now, thanks to Hurricane Irene, they have to tear down about a month ahead of time.  While it no longer looks likely to hit David’s St. Augustine site, it might hit some of the other team’s sites in the Carolinas (or at least bring heavy rain).  In order for the data to be consistent, once one site starts tearing down, they all do.  That’s the challenge of conducting a study where you look at effects over a large geographic expanse- staying consistent when so many things can vary across the miles.  Even the manner in which the cages are taken down is important; all of the Primary Investigators (the team leaders) were to have met in Skidaway, Georgia next month to decide how to proceed on that front.  Now, they’ll have to figure it out on the fly.

David will be updating us on the progress of the experiment tear down as it happens, so stay tuned!

David’s research is funded by the National Science Foundation.

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About Rob Diaz de Villegas

Rob Diaz de Villegas is a senior producer for WFSU-TV, covering outdoors and ecology. Early in his television career, Rob focused on music production. After a couple of years of producing and editing Spanish and bilingual music video shows in San Antonio, Rob returned to Tallahassee in 2002 to resume production of his local music performance show, OutLoud. From that, he transitioned to local music documentaries, until one day he found himself standing in a muddy salt marsh with a camera, and his life was changed forever. Rob created this blog for a National Science Foundation funded marine biology project called In the Grass, On the Reef. No one asked Rob to expand on this work and cover all ecology in our area, but it seemed like a good thing to do. Subsequent projects under the Ecology Blog umbrella include EcoShakespeare (funded by WNET and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) and Roaming the Red Hills (funded by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy). His most recent documentary follows the lives of four red wolf pups born at the Tallahassee Museum, apex predators that once hunted in our local wild spaces. Rob is married with two young sons, and they try to have outdoor family adventures as often as possible (you might see them on the blog from time to time).