Today was an incredibly full day. We put the quadrats we made last night to good use by first estimating crab density on the island, then taxons represented within the seagrass beds, and then finally advancing to quantifying reef health on a patch reef within the conservation zone. Tomorrow we are going to repeat the procedures for quantifying reef health within the general use zone to see if there are observable differences between the two zones.
Another way we are going to compare the two zones is by urchin size. Today on the patch within the MPA, 16 of us collected as many urchins as we could for 25 minutes. I saw Diadema urchins but I did not collect any because their spines are the longest and they seemed to be hidden deeper than the other two species. I only found one Slate Pencil Urchin but lots of Reef Urchins.
Today I encountered two weird issues. First we drifted away from our quadrat within the seagrass, and it took about 20 minutes of frantic searching before we found it again. The other issue happened during the urchin hunting because somehow I got four urchins stuck in my hair really badly. For a good while I thought we were going to have to cut them out but eventually they let go.
Since we were doing the work with the quadrats today, I had less time to find green algae. I did see more Acetabularia calyculus and Rhipocephalus phoenix again. I also saw what I think was Caulerpa cepressoidea and maybe some Chaetomorpha.