Monday, 20 June 2016


                            University of North Florida                            
Credit: Corey Corrick

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


There's nothing quite like it; especially when I've been away for 4 weeks. 

If you grew up in Jacksonville, you belonged in one of two groups (depending on what area you lived):
- the River Rats of the St. Johns River
- the Beach Bums of Jacksonville, Atlantic, Neptune, and/or Ponte Vedra Beaches.
(Each group is also broken into smaller areas, just like Jacksonville itself.)

Me? Proudly, a River Rat who now resides beachside.

But, it's not only us humans who have many diverse habitats, the ecosystems surrounding us do, too...

Starting the week off with a cruise down the St. Johns River, our host, Dr. Kelly Smith, taught us about the salinity gradients present in the river while also pointing out the extensive development of the St. Johns and why this poses a threat to the marine life.

Credit: Corey Corrick

Next up, the 24-hour study at the GTMNERR......

Credit: Corey Corrick
Let's just say I'm a YSI master,
(basically) a mosquito exterminator and a professional tide predictor.

Having to test water quality every hour and perform a seine haul every 3 hours in two locations, was challenging yet very rewarding. IDing all sorts of critters whilst fighting sleeplessness was such an experience but the Spartina Spartans made it happen and came out alive with some pretty good data (and some amazing sunset and sunrise pictures).

Credit: Corey Corrick

Credit: Corey Corrick

After recovering, our final days were spent observing and comparing beaches along northeast Florida. For example, a (mostly) natural vs. unnatural inlet and beaches with natural, untouched dunes vs. beaches with houses atop the dune. We also were able to observe a rare rocky inter-tidal area with coquina rocks.

This week, learning about home was bittersweet. 
Jacksonville has slowly become over-developed, posing a threat to the precious life around us. There's so many things that makes Jacksonville's waters so unique, it's a shame we aren't doing more to protect it. Getting the opportunity to learn more about the waters I've grown to love was especially interesting and motivating. I can't wait to call new waters home and explore more of what's out there.

Credit: Kelly Smith
Thanks to everyone involved with putting this course together especially the Florida Institute of Oceanography
It really was a dream summer class.

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