Tag Archives: Day 10

Day 10: Holy smokes Glover’s

First time having banana pancakes, and they were so so good. Belize just has great food and I will be sad when I have to go home and make my own meals i.e. cereal for breakfast. I will continue to talk about food until I am home crying about my “homemade” meals. Lunch, we had something similar to what we had a Las Cuevas, and this beef soup was so good. Just everything I have eaten here in Belize has blown my mind away.

First part of our day we looked at the percent coral cover that was on the coral graveyard. We then went on to our first snorkel experiment today with our transect and handmade quadrat. We looked at how the seagrass beds and algae interact on the reef flat. It was not bad until my mask starred to fog up and water flooded into the mask. Did not see any annelids since I had mask problems are the patch reef which sucked. Other than that I enjoyed the actual data collection!

More bugs got me again today! As we were working on identifying corals based off of the remains they left behind, multiple bugs bit me on my leg. Bites on my is now at 24 and it looks like it will only go up from here. I hope that I will make it out alive.

The view is really just a lot to take in. You have beautiful trees, with never ending wind, and it all complements each other for the best. Even the cloud cover does not ruin the scenery, but only enhances the view. The wind however does help with the sand flies, but yet I am still accumulating bites. Only a few days left, and it is sad to say that. That does it for today’s blog, catch you guys tomorrow!

Picture: Team Epiphyte collecting data at seagrass site (I am not pictured since I took the photo).

Day 10: Decorator Crabs Unite!

5/23/19: Today was our first full day at Glover’s reef. I must say waking up every morning to our view on our front deck is something I can’t get over. It just seems unreal! The crystal blue water and the palm trees swaying in the wind are worth the 12848923988 bug bites that come with staying on a remote island.

Today, we were tasked with our first research project.  We were looking at how the seagrass beds and algae interact on the reef flat.  We named our group the decorator crabs because her taxon group is crustaceans and mine is algae; decorator crabs decorate themselves with algae (similar to the “shiny” crab in Moana), so we thought it was a perfect fit.

The highlight of today getting a glimpse at a patch reef nearby and being able to see all of the amazing diversity for the first time. It was a larger patch reef, so it was teeming with life. A spotted eagle ray swam right next to me and I literally felt like I should have been Aquawoman in that moment: I was one with the fishes.

A quick picture of the Spotted Eagle Ray that swam near us on the patch reef near the dock on Middle Caye

With the abundance of life on the reef, I was overwhelmed just looking at it, so I did see many types of algae. I saw various patches of Halimeda opuntia and Halimeda incrassata today in cracks between hard corals or in the sandy patches. I also saw those algae and some Pink Segmented Algae or Jania adherens dried up in the coral graveyard (place of washed up carbonate skeletons). I also saw various types of coralline crustose algae (CCAs) on the hard substrates of the reef. On a final note, I am hoping at least one time on this trip to see a sea star.

I am holding Halimeda opuntia, Halimeda incrassata, and Jania adherens dried up on rocks in the coral graveyard.
An example of some CCA I found growing on a rock.

Wish me luck!


Will Rice Will Lose Things

Today I got to sleep in because breakfast didn’t start till 7! After breakfast, Scott had us practice using our research equipment on land before we got in the water. We looked at the proportion of dead leaves on the main trail of the island. Once we were confident with using the transect tape and quadrats, we got ready for using it in the reef.

Putting on the dive suit over an already sweating body was a struggle, but once I had all my gear on I headed to the dock. Once in the water, we used the same technique with the quadrats and transect tape in the sea grass to find what percentage of the benthos contained worm mounds. On the way out of the water, I realized I lost my clipboard and had everyone looking for it, but Elena ended up finding it right in front of the ladder in the sand (sorry everyone:/).

After a delicious lunch, we headed to what Scott told us was Adrienne’s favorite spot, the Coral Graveyard. It was really interesting to be able to identify the different hard corals and also me and Jessica found beautiful pink conch shells and pretended we were in Moana.

Then we headed back into the water, to repeat the same experiment but with measuring the proportion of hard corals. We went to one patch reef in the Marine Protective Area which was pretty hard to maneuver in since it was really close to the surface. The second reef we visited was outside the MPA and was a lot deeper than the first so it was easier to swim and use the equipment. I really felt like a real marine TFB being able to use the quadrat and tape, and swim so close to the coral.

While at the different patch reefs I saw a bunch of the corky sea fingers and purple sea fans. I also got to see some bipinnate sea plumes as well as some sea rods, however it was hard to tell which type of sea rods they were, but I definitely spotted black sea rod.

Hermit Crab Derby

Day 10: May 24th 2018, Glover’s Atoll

We woke for the first time by Glover’s Atoll and ate breakfast at 7. I think we all agree tat Marie Sharp knows how to do condiments. Ya’ll should look up the brand. Then we started to look at the technique we’d we using for our 1st project at Glovers. Essentially we would lay 100 ft of transect tape out, and place our quadrat (basically a squares with a bunch of little squares in it to measures things) out the side of the transect tape every 20 ft. We would then measures something using the squares by asking where each square had the thing we were measuring or didn’t. We did this first with the leaves in the ground of the trails, asking ‘does each square have a leaf or doesn’t it?’. We then moved to the seagrass beds around the island as we looked for worm sand mounds, asking ‘does each square have a worm sand mound or a portion of one in it?’. We found that about 3.8% of the seagrass floor around Glover’s contained some amount of sand worm mound.

We breaked before lunch, and I went around collecting hermit crabs in my hat, naming them George, and testing them for the hermit crab derby we want to have. I also chased several iguanas and even managed to touch the tail of one, not a small feat I am told. I also almost caught a small blue crab but it got away. Let’s just say I feel like I feel like a kid in a candy store here with all the crabs and lizards. After lunch, we walked to a coral graveyard on the island full of largely intact coral skeletons and fragments. The holes present where the polyps (the living organism inside the coral skeleton) used to live. Used my limited hard coral identification knowledge to id several types of hard coral using their skeletons including the Great Star Coral (Montrastraea cavernous) which had extremely large, deep, spaced holes where its large bulbous polyps used to live. I also found the skeleton of what I believe to be a Pillar Coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus) with ridged holes where the polyp used to be. We also saw several benched of coral dotted with polyps holes. The skinny pointed branches were Elkhorn Coral (Acropora palmata) and the the broader plates were Staghorn Coral (Acropora cevicornis). I also saw several otters types including the Rough Cactus Coral (Mycetophylla ferox), the Symmetrical Brain Coral (Pseudodiploria strigosa), the Smooth Star Coral (Solanestra bournoni), and the Maze Coral (Meandrina meandrites),

After getting back from the graveyard, we geared up, got on a boat, and got in the water around two reef patches, on in a protect marine area and one not. At each we used the transect and quadrat technique to look at the the live hard coral coverage on the reef benthos. After we finished collecting data, we snorkeled around for a bit. We observed a small Spiny Sea Urchin and a
Spotted Moray Eel in addition to several colorful fish. I observed several varieties of hard coral including several different types of brain coral, often incrusting over rocks and in some yellow color. I also observed a small yellowish Maze Coral alone on the reef benthos. There was even a live Staghorn Coral about 2 feet tall surrounded by what looked like fire corals. Sadly, the ground was also littered with dead one and broken branches.

After we got back, we ate dinner, got out things inside (due to rain), and then had lectures for Green Algae, Soft Corals, and the Future of Coral Reefs. We also discovered that hermit crabs like coconut. After that, we were off to bed (after I bothered some of the Blue Crabs).