Thursday, June 12, 2008

Friendly frog, angry alligator

Allison took a team out for her first sampling trip in Armand Bayou today. In order to assess how plants mediate water quality in the Bayou, we collected plant, soil, water, and pore water samples along a gradient away from a sewage outfall. At least that was the idea. The first five stations went fairly smoothly, once the pore water sampling protocol was worked out.
But on our way upstream we encountered a female alligator who made it very clear that we were not welcome in that area (probably a nest nearby). She herded us several hundred meters downstream. We might have felt less vulnerable if we weren't in canoes, eye-level with the gators. We'll try to use a pontoon boat for the next trip.
Other wildlife was more friendly, like this frog that hopped along the gunwale, up onto my knee, and then back into the water.
UPDATE: Turns out, the pontoon boat was in the shop. But, a smaller team was able to squeeze by the alligator the following day and complete the sampling upstream. Good work!