On Monday, we set sail down the St. Johns River. We started at the Mayport Marina and traveled up the St. Johns River until we reach an area of low salinity (around 4 ppt). Here, we started taking water quality measurements and continued to do so at intervals down the river until we ended at the Marina. We saw a gradual change in salinity, dissolved oxygen, and chlorophyll-a as we transitioned from fresher water to the ocean.
Tuesday was the day for the 24-hour survey. We got to the site around 10:30 AM and got ready for our first sampling at 11:30 AM. Every three hours, teams did a seining of the Guana lake and river. On every hour, each site was tested for water quality. Though this was exhausting, it was quite the experience. I found that blue crabs likely have the worst attitude out the whole animal kingdom. I got pinched three times before I decided perhaps someone else should handle them. When Wednesday morning rolled around, we were able to pack up and do our final sampling at 10:30 AM. We got back and wrapped up the data collection and divided up the workload on making different graphs to analyze the data we collected.
On Thursday, we drove around and looked at different beaches when compared to the surrounding amount of development. I had no idea how powerful of a force the movement of water really is. Humans have been trying to restrict and control this force, but in many cases, they were unsuccessful. We saw multiple instances where the water is taking back different areas. The saw where A1A used to be, a boating marina that was all dried up, and various areas where erosion is threatening many residential sites.
Friday was our last day of this trip. We reviewed and took our test and then said our goodbyes. It was an amazing experience and I met some amazing people! I hope everyone is able to reach their different goals! Perhaps we'll even see each other around.