Monday, 30 May 2016

Microscopic Life at Vester Marine Lab (Week 2)

This past week the Spartina Spartans (our cohort) stayed at Florida Gulf Coast University's Vester Marine Lab in Bonita Springs Florida! Each day was focused around a different subject taught by a different teacher from FGCU. Out of all of them, my favorite day was spent out on the water collecting phytoplankton and zooplankton with Mike Parsons, and then bringing the samples back to the lab for observation. Although the work was tedious and a bit slow at first, since you have to idle while collecting, after pulling the two different plankton nets beside the boat at the multiple locations from the Imperial River out to the Gulf of Mexio the best part was bringing it all back to the lab. Many people don't think about how much life there is in surface water of rivers and the ocean, and this was a great exercise to change that point of view. Using a compound microscope for phytoplankton and a dissecting scope for zooplankton, we were able to see that life was teaming in just a few drops or a few milliliters of our sample collections. It was interesting to see the difference and the variety of life as our plankton collections changed from fresh to salt water. I have done this lab several times before as an FGCU student, not only in Mike Parsons class, and each time is never the same. Depending on the season, the weather conditions, and so many more variables there are always new things to look at and find under the microscope.

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