Saturday, 4 June 2016

Week 3: Open Ocean at USFSP!

The gang's all here! - Photo Credit: Kris Clark
I can't believe how quickly this week has flown by! Even accounting for the fact that we had Memorial Day off on Monday, this week seemed to go by much quicker than the past two! Even so, this week was action packed and extremely exciting. So, to take a look back on the week, I'll be reflecting on the following:

Something I found interesting...
Almost everything that we did and learned about this week could be counted as interesting! But if I had to just pick one, I think one of the most interesting things we did this week, in my opinion, was seeing all of the absolutely amazing creatures we pulled up in our trawls and tows on the Weatherbird. From vertebrates to every level of invertebrates, the diversity of beautiful and crazy creatures we found in the Gulf was fascinating! I feel very lucky that I got to see what I did that day!
Polkadot batfish - Photo Credit: Kris Clark
A huge sponge pulled up from Site 1 - Photo Credit: Kris Clark
Unsorted shells and algae from Site 1 dredge - Photo Credit: Kris Clark

Something I found exciting...
Of course the most exciting thing this week was going out to sea! I had never been out on the open ocean before and I certainly had never been on a research vessel like the Weatherbird. When I heard we were going almost 30 miles offshore I was both exhilarated and terrified. I had never been that far offshore before in my life. It turned out to be an incredible experience (despite the mild nausea that accompanied the waves). Seeing nothing but waves and water all around you, with no trace of land in site, was a totally new experience for me.
Something I found challenging...
This comes as no surprise to anyone... but identifying the marine life we found was a huge challenge. We had experience with identifying organisms using field guides in the Keys, but we never had to do identifications in a time crunch and record everything down accurately. The Keys was more of an exercise; This was the real deal. Nothing is more frustrating than to flip through four separate identification books and still not knowwhat the heck it is that you're looking at. After practice, I began to get a hang of it, though; I became familiar with the books at hand and which one was the best bet to look in to find what I needed. Though frustrating at times, making a correct identification after a long time of searching was equally satisfying.

No comments:

Post a Comment