Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Week 2 at FGCU Vester Marine Field Station

     FGCU Vester Marine Field Station     

 Intro Week 
 Week 1 
 Week 2 
 Week 3
 Week 4
 Week 5

After an activity-filled week in the Estero Bay, I can say whoa...this is going by fast! 

Day 1 at VMFS was led by Prof. Savarese from FGCU. He took us to Mound Key where we learned some anthropology about the Calusa people who inhabited Mound Key before they were discovered by the Spanish in the early 1500's. Click here for more information!

We then went to the Horseshoe Keys to do some core sampling! This was lots of fun! Working as a group, we were about to get an awesome sample!

I got to cut the pipe: the most important job ;)  I felt pretty BA... 

Credit: Amanda Schaaf

Credit: Amanda Schaaf

Day 2 was led by Cheryl Clark of the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve who took us to Spring Creek in the Estero Bay to help clean up a failed FGCU oyster reef restoration project. The project was basically taking plastic (?!??) mesh bags, filling them with discarded oyster shells and placing them in the creek around a mangrove island to see if the reef may or may not come back to life. Needless to say, it did not and the those-who-must-not-be-named left an absolute mess.

We collected a total of 230 bags! Try to beat that Cohort 2!
We then finished up the day with some bird watching. 

Credit: Corey Corrick

Day 3 was led by Dr. Parsons of FGCU who took us to the Imperial River, around Estero Bay and into the Gulf of Mexico for some plankton trawling. We used two different sized nets to capture zooplankton and phytoplankton which we later looked at under the scope in  wet lab.

I found baby jellies in my zooplankton sample!

Credit: Corey Corrick

Day 4 was led by Dr. Douglass of FGCU who took us around Estero Bay to do some ground truthing. Our objective was to take quadrat samples of two different sizes in five different areas where there is supposed to be an abundance of seagrass. This belief was held by aerial photographs taken of the Bay 10(!) years ago. Sadly, we found that most of the seagrass had disappeared. 

Credit: Corey Corrick

However, we did find some cool juvenile fish who use the seagrass beds as a refuge, like this 
baby puffer fish.
He's so cute!

Thanks to everyone at FGCU VMFS and their interns and grad students for showing us a wonderful time!

Go Ospreys! 

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