Today was quite the adventure!!!! We started off talking about all the field problems we have encountered over the past 3 weeks. Some of these problems include equipment malfunctions, communication problems, and even bringing dead smelly animals onto the boats for pictures (that last one I am definitely guilty of). We got to revisit reefs 54, 47, 46, and 44 to pick up some of our flow balls, and HOBO loggers. We then continued to lay out our Mercedes benz transects over reef 46 to finish up all the data collecting for the Montipora group. Reef 54, 47, and 46 were looking like straight death due to the tropical depression that had hit us in the beginning of the week. We were told yesterday (7/23/14) that most of the death was from the huge amount of freshwater that came from the watersheds. Because of this there were tons of dead invertebrates, moray eels, and all of the precious coral were either bleached or dead (pictures below). While the class was at reef 46, and 47 Keisha and Lauren went off to survey some of the surrounding reefs. When they returned they told us about how they didn’t even survey some of the reefs because they smelt so bad or were a dark brown color aka not a good sign. At reef 44 we got to help out Dr. Cindy Hunter by locating Tripneustes gratilla (Collector Urchin) around the Montipora dilatata poster colony. We then continued to measure them and then replace them on invasive algae such as Kappaphycus/Eucheuma. What was not so much fun today on reef 44 was everyone getting stung by Physalia physalis (Portoguese man-o-war) (see video below). These little devils were able to not only sting me along my arm, but Megan (zebra shirt) on the face, and Keisha our awesome TA right on the bum :(. However everyone persevered and continued to continue the fieldwork that needed to be done.
Day 17 and we are still going strong!
-Ryan (aka frogfish)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FULWZ953yXk (Portoguese man-o-war)