Sunday, 5 June 2016

FGCU Vester Marine Station

FGCU Vester Marine Station 

Another week of things I enjoyed even more than I had anticipated! This week home base was the Vester Marine Station out of Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, and was a little different than our previous weeks. While most of our locations have a single cohesive theme and revolve aro

und one major activity supported by classroom lectures, this week we had 4 different instructors take us out for 4 different and mostly unrelated activities. Tuesday (Monday was a holiday) we learned about the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve and helped clean up mesh bags from an oyster reef transplant. Wednesday was all about the oyster reefs themselves with a touch of anthropology in the form of a trip to Mound Key to see some former dig sites relating to the Calusa, the oldest native Floridians. We also took a sediment core sample from a nearby mangrove island and analyzed it back at the station to map out around 4,000 years worth of ecological succession. I can honestly say I did not expect dirt to be anywhere near as interesting as it actually was. Thursday was another day out on the boat collecting plankton samples and spending hours in the lab analyzing them (not normally something I enjoy as much as field work, but again surprises in the form of complex species I had never seen). Finally, Friday was all about seagrass in Estero Bay as we traveled from the Station all the way out to the Gulf of Mexico doing "ground truthing," or testing the accuracy of aerial photos of seagrass taken a few years prior. All in all a great week spent almost exclusively out on the water (my and everyone else's favorite part of all this I'm sure). Can't wait to see what's in store at St. Pete and go out on the Weatherbird, assuming this tropical storm holds out. Fingers crossed!

(Blogspot is not uploading my pictures, will retry periodically)

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