What are corals stressed about?… Current events :D

Hello friends and family! This is Kate and Paige here to give you the daily report. Today started off with all three groups collaborating on what needed to be done for fieldwork today. We collectively decided to take a “meditation” day where we all took things a little slower (we’re all VERY exhausted). We took off on the boats a little later than usual at 10am and made our way to anchor between patch reef Sliver and 31 for further data collection.

Cindy “whaling” on the boat

Cindy “whaling” on the boat

Each group split up to work on their projects. Jess, Kelsey, Kate (me), Nicole, and Sam kicked our way around the reef to sample specific coral calf’ length, width, and height along with the depth and percent cover for specific calves on Sliver. After intensive free diving by Nicole, Kelsey, and Jess our group was completely worn out and called it a day after devouring lunch.

Intensive data collection

Intensive data collection

Boating our way out of here.

Boating our way out of here.

During lunch we were met with a severe weather change. It was raining catfish and dogfish while each group tried to keep their delicious lunches dry. Once my group (Kate) was full and happy, we left to go back to Coconut Island for some TLC.

Waiting to be drenched.

Waiting to be drenched.

The remaining groups worked together at reef 31 to do more data collection. Paige (me), Andrew, Ashley, and Marisa worked on GPSing points around the reef to later take the wave action on the windward and leeward sides of the reef. The other group consisting of Sarah, Cindy, Justin, and Anita focused on collecting sediment to analyze in the lab. When we were all done we boated back to CI to clean all the gear and get data from the GPSs.

Paige trying to mark a GPS point in an extremely buoyant wetsuit.

Paige trying to mark a GPS point in an extremely buoyant wetsuit.

After two pots of coffee, we headed to the classroom for a lecture from Zac Forsman on coral ecology, genetics, and growth. He shared with us some interesting information on the complexity of the genus Montipora. Did you know that coral reefs are fluorescent under black light?! Different colonies of the same species can have completely different fluorescent colors. He also talked about his research on rapidly promoting coral growth. Through building his own coral nursery he was able to speed coral growth from 3cm a year to 9cm a year.

We’re in the kitchen right now waiting for dinner to be served (it smells so good)! Becca and Tara are making us brownies later (thank you), and we can’t wait for them! Tonight is going to be lights out early for everyone so we can continue intensive fieldwork tomorrow.

Check out the cracked coral calf!

Check out the cracked coral calf!

PS check out this short video of what we’ve been up to so far

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5UhxDxOCEs

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