Tag Archives: ceviche!

27/05/19 I’m not lion…I had fun.

Today is our last full day of class since tomorrow is just traveling! We began the morning with a fun activity—cleaning up the island! We took trash bags out, geared up with long pants tucked in socks, shirts tucked in pants, jackets tucked in rubber gloves, and picked up garbage at four different sites around Middle Caye—the mangroves of death, the coral graveyard,  the Glover’s Reef dock, and the touch tank. I, along with Pierce and Keegan, picked up trash at the coral graveyard for 30 minutes. My hands pruned up with sweat, but the coverage was worth the mosquito protection.

 

Some interesting garbage found:

-lots of plastic bottles, lots of plastic bottle caps

-plastic utensils

-many sole-mate less sandals (ha!)

-Crocs

-baby doll leg

-stuffed animal

-LEGO

-toothbrushes

-rope

-2 hyperdermic needles

-a crab using a round bottle as a shell! Trash Crab!

Then, we had some coconut water, coconut meat, and lionfish ceviche—just doing our part to remove invasive species. The lionfish that I dissected was a 79.1g virgin male, and we found a whole, un-digested juvenile slippery dick wrasse in his stomach! The wrasse itself was at least 3 centimeters, maybe even 4. What a cool find!

Lionfish of genus Pterois beside the slippery dick wrasse (Halichoeres bivittatus) found in its stomach

We had our last lectures for the course on annelids and the history and culture of Belize given by our wonderful guides Herby and Javier—they were excellent and they will be missed so much!

Thank you Glover’s Reef Research Station for a fantastic week! Now, I’m prepared to head on home.

Why must good things come to an end? 

  • Why must good things come to an end? 

    Today was a day of many lasts: snorkeling at Glover’s Atoll, sitting at the pier with the squad, and interacting with the lion fish. The post-Belize depression will be real but I will be sure to return to this lovely, peaceful, and unbelizeable place (credit: Sami).

    First things first: food was amazing today. After dissecting the lion fish we have gotten from the surrounding reefs, Chef Scott turned the white meat fish into a delicious bowl of ceviche, lime-marinated fresh fish mixed with diced onion and tomato.

    10/10 would eat again!

    Even the vegetarians helped finish the fish, an environmental friendly act due to the lionfish’s devastating effect on native fish species. Nonnative to this region, the piescivorous lion fish feed on smaller fish that are native to the region, at a disproportionally high rate. This causes up to 70% decrease in 

    native fish populations.

    A similar trend can be said of brown algae, Sargassum seaweed in particular, which has crowded out large populations of coral because of its ability to grow from dissembles parts of itself and its tolerance to hot water.

    At the Southwest Caye of Glover’s Atoll, we hung out at the resort and savored the beverages that the Caribbean had to offer, including Belizean pineapple Fanta which instead of using corn syrup as sweetener uses cane sugar. We noted the amount of conch shells on the island and thought about the regulations in place at this region for conch fishing. We hope they weren’t collected from restricted fishing zones, weren’t undersized, or caught during the mating season. 

    As our pilot research project has shown, marine protected areas support more corals and number of species, which can be worthy contributions to the coral reef ecosystem. Illegal harvesting of conch would instead be a detraction.

    In the waters around Southwest Caye, we observed the abundant sargassum seaweed. They are especially obvious because of they float free on the surface of water. Under water around the patch reefs near Middle Caye, I saw a lot of lobophora and White scroll algae. Most of these algae communities are near or inside coral communities, and share their habitat with many species of fish, spiny brittle star, and anemones. If one made a conclusion about the role of algae in the coral reef ecosystem from these observation, it may be that algae seems to be living in good relationships with its neighboring corals. However, comparing the algae and coral compositions of today to that of the last couple decades, the correlation between algae growth and coral decline can be alarming. We wonder if our grandchildren will see the corals that we got to see today.

    For about a week now we have been coordinating  a group mediation.

    Alas, tonight we meditated together as a class and some of us mentally prepared ourselves for the end of what feels like an era.

Tough Love

Our last day here on the reef has been a little sad for me. I will absolutely be coming back here at some point in my life, but leaving tomorrow is gonna be difficult for me.

We started the day by wandering around in the back reef and collecting biodiversity in a bucket so we could identify it. I identified a species of chiton (the fuzzy chiton) and some genus of snails (cerithium and trochus snails). We also found a donkey dung sea cucumber, some box jellies, some huge hermit crabs that were using queen conch shells, and a few mantis shrimp.

As we were collecting stuff I got stung by something on my elbow and it was hurting for the next couple hours. Eventually it calmed down, but I’m still not sure what stung me. Possibly some kind of jelly.

In the afternoon we dissected lion fish to look at their size and the contents of their stomachs. Then we made lion fish ceviche which we will be eating any minute now.

After the lion fish dissection, we boated over to south-west caye and had a few drinks and watched the sun set. This place is so beautiful that it’s impossible to describe in pictures or words. I sat and watched the stars for awhile on the dock and thought about how amazing it would be to see this many stars every night. I’m gonna miss this when I got back to Houston. Despite the stings, bug bites, rashes, and layers of dirt and salt, I would love to spend huge quantities of my life here.

(Nakian) May 30: Dissection x Lionfish x Pina Colada

Brown algae found today
Brown algae found today

Tonight is the last night in Belize. We went to the patch reef nearby our dorm and collected specimens in the morning. We found bunch of little crabs, a level 45 hermit crab (the biggest I have seen), bunch of algae, and played with conchs that tried to swath our hand away with their extended body. It was amazing to see so many different animals in such a shallow water. After that we returned to our coral colony project and concluded that colony coverage decreased.
In the afternoon we dissected lionfish, recording their weight, body length, gape size, body fat volume, and stomach content. Since we didn’t know the previous data we couldn’t make any conclusions but it was fun cutting up an invasive species. I am only waiting to taste the ceviche I heard they were making with the fish we dissected.
I collected the same 5 kinds of brown algae that I have seen while I was staying here: Sargassum, Dictyota, Turbinaria, Padina, and Lobophora. I couldn’t find any other and I concluded that these are the most common species in the region.
Before dinner we sailed to Southwest Caye, a resort island. We sat in a bar and drank pina colada by the dock under the sunset. After a amazing dinner, and watching the slideshow of our photo we have taken during this trip concluded our course very nicely.