Today’s general agenda: MPA and non-MPA reef transect —> fore reef —> presentations
I woke up to yet another beautiful sunrise, and I can’t help but wonder whether I am on Glover’s Reef Research Station or Glover’s Reef Resort…then the mosquito and sandflies bites kick in. The waves were quite calm this morning, so we got suited up and immediately hit the water. We continued our research project by exploring another patch reef within the Marine Protected Area and one outside of the area.
Anna and I once again rolled out our transect tape and starting taking data points using our quadrats. When we were collecting data for our second reef, our transect tape happened to go beyond the edge of the patch reef. We ended up having to dive deep into the ocean a few times to collect data. As we dove further down, I felt the thermocline and how cold the water became.
Because weather can be so unpredictable, in the afternoon, we quickly headed to the fore reef, which is the area right outside of the reef crest, to observe the drop-off. I could not believe my eyes when I saw the drop-off because I was literally staring deep into the abyss. We saw a ray swim across the ocean floor and a nurse shark on the sea floor as well.
In the sponge department, we got to see some incredible sponges! Javier pointed out the yellow tube sponges and Amanda pointed out the barrel sponges. These sponges were hard to spot at first, but, once I saw them, I could not take my eyes off them. They look just like the pictures when I searched them up, but they look more beautiful in person.
Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve, Belize