Today, Team AP Bio went to the Palo Alto Bay lands to meet with representatives from Save the Bay!The bay is composed of marshes and estuaries, which means that there is a mixture of both fresh and salt water, making the the bay a perfect habitat for lots of different wildlife. Unfortunately, in the 1960s, the San Francisco Bay was used as a dump site, and became covered in landfill. Save the Bay is an organization that advocates against pollution and has a goal of restoring the San Francisco Bay back to its original state.
Our day was mainly focussed on collecting data about biodiversity, soil moisture, salinity, pH, and soil type of five different quadrants in the restoration site. We were introduced to a method for calculating biodiversity called Simpson’s Biodiversity Index, which is able to rate levels of biodiversity from 0 to 1 (0 represents very little biodiversity, 1 represents infinite diversity and is practically impossible to reach). Through our data collection, we found that areas farther away from the water had higher levels of biodiversity.
Different team members each had an assigned job whether it be collecting data for soil moisture, salinity, pH levels, and qualitative soil type observations. My job was to find the pH level of the soil. To do this, I used a tool that was put on top of the dirt, which read the pH levels. Our data showed that the areas further away from the bay had lower pH levels (higher acidity). We believe that this is due to rainwater (more acidic) directly affecting areas towards the top of the incline.
Not only was this field trip a very fun day spent with the AP Bio Team, but I was very happy to be working alongside Save the Bay. I truly think they have a very important goal, and that we must all be more mindful about how we treat our mother Earth before we have to face the repercussions of nature! One day, I hope to again visit the Palo Alto Baylands to see the progress of the restoration sites. I also highly recommend volunteering with Save the Bay!