Tag Archives: Day 13

Day 13: Having a bad day

Today, I really just had one of those days where I did not feel good. In the morning, I felt fine and excited to catch sea urchins, but as we were on the boat observing our caught sea urchins, I think that is where I started to feel “sick”. As the day progressed, I just did not feel up to par and, unfortunately, I missed night dive with the class. One of the things I can say I did not do is that night dive which I low key regret, but I needed to heal. It is sad to say it is almost time to leave, and we only have one full day left.

Food here in Belize will never stop to amaze me. Aunt Annette and Jamelle, you guys are seriously the bomb. Breakfast, I had John cakes and ham and just wow, like those cakes were the bomb. Like I could eat the cakes plain for days. Lunch I had honey mustard chicken with a nice cabbage salad, and that salad was so so good. I’m not a salad eater, but the food here has definitely pushed me outside of my comfort zones. I don’t like mustard, yet I had the chicken. Dinner I had BBBQ chicken with rice and beans, and again, mind blown away by how good the food is. You have to come to Belize to try the food. You will not regret.

I feel like I got more bites in my sleep. When I woke up today, I could not stop scratching my arms and legs. Yes yes yes, I know you are not supposed to scratch them, but I could not help myself. I saw five new little bumps on my right arm and said to myself, “wow these sand flies really trying to get me in my sleep”.

Went out to do our second to last experiment and we wanted to know if there was a difference in urchin community structure in and out of the MPA. Got to touch/collect of sea urchins in the MPA and did not touch any from the non-MPA since these urchins were huge and dangerous. Did not see any annelids since I could not see half the time and the other half I was just not feeling well.

Picture: Urchin that was caught at our first site (MPA).

Day 13: Searchin’ for Urchins

5/26/19: Have you ever held a ball of sticks that moves in your bare hand? Well if you have, stick around because I think you can bond with me. But if you haven’t, do not fret because I am sure I am descriptive enough for both of us. Today, we were searching for sea urchins for our next research project. When I say searching, I mean searching! I was doing handstands trying to see underneath rocks and used spaghetti tongs to fetch them out of tight crevices. (No urchins were harmed in this event; all returned safely to the water)

Slate Pencil Urchin found under a rock while searching for the urchins during research project

We were looking at the sea urchins to use as a proxy to help understand herbivory and overall reef health. I had never felt a sea urchin before this, but let me tell you, I would do it again if I could. It is so interesting to watch them move their seemingly stiff legs to walk around in your hand. I also saw quite a few brittle stars as I was lifting up coral rubble in search of urchins.

We had our night dive today, and it was really cool. We were able to see a couple stingrays, lobster, and even a pufferfish. The current was pretty strong, so it was short lived. However, it was really eerie and cool to be in the water at night.

Throughout the day, I saw various patches of Halimeda opuntia (Watercress algae) and Halimeda incrassata (Three finger leaf algae) in cracks between hard corals or in the sandy patches. Looking for urchins, I even saw some Flat Twig red algae or Amphiora tribulus that grew in sporadic clumps in the shady areas of rock crevices. Tomorrow is our last full day at Glover’s reef Middle Caye, so let’s finish with a bang!

I even saw some Flat Twig red algae or Amphiora tribulus that grew in sporadic clumps in the shady areas of rock crevices.

Wish me luck!



Underwater Aquarium

Today I woke up to the sound of a rainstorm. We had breakfast and then gathered in the classroom to do our last lectures and wait for the rain to die down. After lectures, the rain had let up enough so we could work on our marine debris project.


We went to the coral graveyard on the windward side for 15 minutes and all picked up and identified trash, and then did the same thing in the mangrove forest on the leeward side. It was upsetting to see how little of a dent we made and how the trash will just continue to accumulate. I definitely want to start to live with less waste back home.

A 2:00 we went out on the boat for our last snorkel in the atoll. We first went to a site called the Aquarium, and it really did look like we were snorkeling in an aquarium tank. There was so many beautiful fish and I was able to get some really good pictures since it was easy to dive down. I also saw a Southern Sting Ray swimming over the reef, which was really cool and it looked really pretty.

The second patch reef we went to was deeper, and it was really fun to dive down and swim close to the ocean floor. We also saw a large nurse shark on the sea floor, but there was a string with a can on it attached to the shark, and there was nothing we could do to take it off. Then, we went to a different reef and I saw a black tipped reef shark, which was also really amazing.


Today there was a lot of sea fans that were packed very close to each other, and some of them were bright purple while some had a very dull grey color with just a purple tint. Most of them were on the top of the rocks, but some small ones were on the seafloor. I also saw some really pretty sea plumes, whose colonies were large and had long branchlets.


Do you feel Debris(e)?

Day 13: May 27th 2018, Glover’s Atoll

Today we woke up to pouring rain and grey skies. After running to escape the rain, we ate breakfast at 7 and then decide to push up lectures while we waited out the rain. Today was our final day of lectures to our delight and Professor Solomon’s disappointment. The lectures were on Crustaceans, Sponges, and Mangroves and Seagrass.

Once there rain slowed to a drizzle, we were off to our morning activity. We designed a project to ask and answer a question about marine debris on the island. We decided to ask about the amount and composition of trash on the windward side of the island vs the leeward side of the island. Essentially, the breeze tends to blow towards the windward side of the island and not the leeward (opposite side); hence, we hypothesized that we would find a greater amount and different types of trash materials on the leeward side.  We essentially wen collected trash fro 15 minutes on each side recording the types and number of materials as we went.  After we had collected our data, it was time for lunch and we were all hungry.

After lunch, we had our last official snorkel trip. I saw sooooo many types of hard coral. I can only hope that I correctly identified them and will not bring shame upon Adrienne haha. I saw Mustard Hill Corals, Lesser Starlet Corals, Symmetrical Brain corals, Grooved Brain Corals, Smooth Star Corals, Elliptical Star Corals (mostly in the sea grass), Club Tip Finger Corals, Lettuce Corals (surprisingly hard to spot on the lower sodden of rocks),… (heavy breathing…) Great Star Corals, Knobby Brain Corals, a large Acropora palmata (Elkhorn Coral), and a tiny Acropora cervicornis (Staghorn Coral).

I also saw several types of parrot fish, a Queen Triggerfish, an Eagle Ray, and a Nurse Shark that was about 6 ft long (very large for a nurse shark). The sad part was that the shark had a plastic bottle attached to it. Why do humans litter? We don’t even see how much we hurt out environment.

Speaking of debris, after dinner, we analyzed the data from the marine debris project. What we found was actually the opposite of our hypothesis. While we found more trash in weight on the windward side, we found a greater number of smaller trash pieces on the leeward side as well as a greater variety of materials. This is because lighter, transportable trash can be pushed away from the windward side towards the leeward side while larger, heaver materials like hard plastics remain on the windward side. Its was an interesting conclusion, but I think we all could agree that it was sad to see so much trash in such a beautiful place.

Big take away: we need to be more conscious our our human impact, especially in first world countries.