Today we went out on the boat to patch reefs. We were looking at the stony coral coverage in the marine protection area versus outside of it. Also we caught, identified, and measured sea urchins in each area.
In the morning, we were in the marine protection area. I didn’t see very much stony coral, but I was able to recognize it. I also had a hard time collecting sea urchins. In the timed 25 minutes we had I found probably a dozen but all so far in crevices I couldn’t get any of them out. I did see another barracuda and some parrot fish. Honestly I’ve seen so much I can’t hardly list it all out. Except for my taxonomic groups. I didn’t manage to see any anemones, zoanthids or corallimorphs. Other people did though and said they were able to recognize them.
In the afternoon we went out to a patch reef outside of the marine protection area, where the water was a bit choppier. My partner and I saw more stony corals. We also saw a lot of fire coral, so we had to be careful not to bump into it. I did manage to collect a single sea urchin at this site. I also tried shifting more rocks around in hopes of finding anemones, zoanthids, and corallimorphs. I didn’t see any again, but I did see a few brittle stars and a very pretty colored sea slug. I will continue to turn over rocks in hopes of finding my taxa. Today was probably my favorite day I’ve had so far. I really remember the reason I love the water so much when I am staring at beautiful reef with waves washing over my back.