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.