Sunday, 12 June 2016

UWF

Monday - We started out bright and early with a drive to an upland forest management area. Here, Ian Stone talked with us about the long-leaf pine habitat, pitcher plants, and the various forestry management practices. Though I thought the pitcher plants were really cool, overall this was probably the worst day of the trip. The day dragged on, which is unfortunate since I am interested in management. Ian was very nice, but I found his way of delivering the information very difficult to stay engaged.

Tuesday - Today picked back up with Dr. Matt Schwartz. We went to a small beach to perform testing on submerged ground water discharge. My favorite part of the different collection methods was digging a deep hole to collect the submerged ground water. It was interesting to see the differences between the ground water and the water in the bay. Afterwards, we got a tour of the EPA. This was pretty awesome. The location is very beautiful. It didn't feel like we were on a government island really except for the guards at the entrance. The various studies going on were also very interesting. The only catch is that these researchers perform whatever experiments that the government tells them to. Some of the tools and equipment they have available is also very cool.

Wednesday - Today we did yet another seagrass survey. Though we have done seagrasses a lot, I will say I still greatly enjoyed the day. I loved getting the sample of the Halodule wrightii. For this, we had to held underwater as we shoved a small cylinder into the sediment to collect the roots. Separating and measuring the leaves from this sampling, however, was quite tedious. Though, I did find it relaxing. I also found Dr. Barbara very helpful and kind.

Thursday - For the geomorphology, we drove to a beautiful beach where we rotated through various sampling techniques. One of the most tedious was using the inclinometer to measure gradual slope change. In fact, it took my group so long to make it through our transect, that they decided to not perform that technique on any of the other transects. We could see sharks and rays swimming through the clear water as we completed our tasks. We even saw a pod of spinner dolphins feeding which was awesome. Though the day was long and hot, I had a lot of fun performing the different tests (I liked throwing the grapefruit out into the ocean to monitor drift) and cooling off in the ocean.

Friday - For our last day, we again visited an amazing beach. We were guided along the sand to look at the dune lake habitats and the overflow zones caused by the recent storm. We even got to see the sand crawls of a nesting mother green sea turtle. It was awesome to clearly see the paths she took to get up to the nesting ground and back to the ocean. I also thought the overflow streams that connected the dune lakes to the Gulf of Mexico were pretty amazing. The darker organic water mixed with the surf to create a very unique site. We even had fun trying to jump the overflow stream. Later in the day, we visited one of the dune lakes and preformed a few tests.

 Getting briefed for data collection on the dune lake.

 Green sea turtle crawl path.

 Attempting to jump the dune lake outflow.

One of the outflows that connects to the Gulf. Notice the color change.

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