Sunday, 22 May 2016

Taking UNF by Storm

Hello again!
This week our 12 pack arrived at Jacksonville, FL to start our first official week at UNF. Monday began with a boat ride on the St. John's river. On two seperate boats, we were taught how to properly use a YSI multimeter to test for water quality, a refractometer to accurately depict salinity, secchi transparency tube to determine turbidity, and last but not least, tow for phytoplankton. It was an amazing trip and a wonderful trip on a beautiful lake. Despite the human commercialization that has overtaken that area, it was still a pleasant experience.
On Tuesday-Wednesday we put our freshly acquired skills to test by performing a 24 hour Exercise at the Guana River Marsh Aquatic Preserve. This location was perfect for this study. When you arrive at the location, there a parking lot that is apart of a water control structure that separates the lake and river in this area. On the lake side, the landscape is flat and serene with very suttle tide differences, while on the river side, there is an abundance smooth cordgrass (the dominant plant species of this marsh) that provided more shelter for the organisms that live there. During the study, we recorded water quality samples every hour on the hour and performed a seine to also record any organisms that the group caught in the net. Unfortunately, a pretty heavy lightening storm rolled in around 830-9pm and our group had to result to taking shelter in the resource center for the majority of the night. Although we would have loved to take samples during the night rather than mainly during the day, we all had an enjoyable time playing card games and getting to know each other a little better. We returned to the field site at around5am and continued to sample until 1100am that day. After returning and cleaning up, we all gathered together to input gathered information into Excel sheets and establish the type of graphs we would collaborate on our data for the final assessment.
Thursday was a easy going day led by an incredible "tour guide", Dr. Courtney Hackney. Personally, I believe this man is a walking encyclopedia about his passion and throughout the day we toured the beaches along the coast of Jacksonville and St. Augustine, working our way towards a dry riverbed in Summer Haven, and ending at Matanzas Inlet where we again, ran into another large storm. Despite fighting the weather, it was an amazing and knowledgable day and couldn't ever get enough of what he had to tell us.
Friday we ended our journey by presenting our final graphs on the data we collected and took our end of the week assessment. It was an inspirational week full of knowledge and good times. I learned how to properly gather samples in a marine setting with professional research equipment, which is something I have seldom done in my college career. I really enjoyed my time at UNF!
Now let's see what the Keys have in store for us this week!
TTFN
Calli

P.S - not many pictures this week due to internet connection at KML.


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