Hi guysssss!!! My first blog post finally Anita here reporting, today was our third day out in the field, and it’s pretty rad because I can tell all the groups are getting better at working together and gathering data. Teamwork and communication is definitely vital in these projects, and recognizing specific strengths in your teammates and utilizing them is a very efficient method. Takes some practice for sure but everything seems to be going smoothly now after a couple days of trial and error. We are now pros at being in the field for 5 hours straight! (ok maybe not yet, but we will be soon!)
Our group today checked on our sediment traps that we set out on Tuesday, and the original plan was to pick them up to start analyzing our sample, but we found that not enough sediment was collected yet. Gotta be flexible and be prepared for a change in plans, so we decided to keep our traps out for an extra two days and we will be picking them up Saturday instead now.
Just a brief overview of what our group is looking into: we chose to study the topography of the reefs to see if the angle of slope affects the frequency of calving. Sediment composition will also be analyzed to see if this affects calving and the size of reefs. Our method of measuring the angle of slope would make our math teacher proud, we decided to measure 5 meters out horizontally from the tip of the reef out with a transect, then have a second person measure the depth of the reef starting from that point creating a right, 90 degree triangle. The 5 meters horizontally straight out represents the base of the triangle (upside down), and the depth measured (we dropped a transect weighed down with fishing weights until it hits the bottom of the reef floor) is the side of the triangle that creates the 90 degree angle. Therefore, the hypotenuse of the triangle is the estimated slope, and using the formula for arc tangent would give us the angle of degree! Here is Cindy and Justin measuring slope with the transects, look at that nice 90 degree angle!
All the groups went back to Sliver today, Reef 31 and 28 to finish collecting data, then us and Group B were able to visit reef 42 to start new data collection. Group C stayed and finished their data on previous reefs, they are analyzing species diversity found on coral calves and measuring calf sizes too, so their work takes a bit longer! Big props to them though for their hard work so far, here is Jess the mermaid diving down and inspecting a quadrant! (She can freedive up to 95 feet, isn’t that crazy?!!)
Ok, I’ll stop boring you now with our methods, more fun news……IT WAS OUR FRIEND FRED’S BIRTHDAY TODAY!!!!! He turned 87, WOW!!! If you ever see him out and about one day, go give him a big hug and talk to him! He’s has a super interesting life, he served in the Marines and fought in the Vietnam War, he knows how to fly planes, he learned how to make his own surfboard when he was younger, he can build his own boat, and him and his wife has even sailed across the Pacific before! And that’s just a snapshot of his life, definitely an awesome guy who has volunteered and helped us so much already. THANK YOU FRED FOR EVERYTHING YOU DO!!! I mean, he spent his birthday driving us around in a boat! Dr. Rodgers bought him a birthday cake, and we got to sing Happy Birthday to him and eat cake in the middle of the ocean! How awesome is that, here is Tara feeding him some cake haha. Hope his wife doesn’t get too jealous!
Paige and Andrew, cake cake cake cake (Rihanna song, git wit it)
Best lunch break ever, throwin up our 403 gangsta signs
After lunch while we were visiting Reef 42, Tara was able to spot an eel! I got excited because I hadn’t seen an eel during this trip yet, so I snapped a picture of course. If my research is correct, this is a Whitemouth Moray Eel Can you spot it?
Last but not least, I will leave you with some side tips that might be useful out in the field:
1) If your forehead is getting sunburned (I’m fine because apparently I’m the darkest one in the group, but I do have a sick forehead snorkel tanline now), try wearing a bandana out in the water! Sarah wears her bandana out in the field now to prevent sunburn, and you can look like a pirate too at the same time
2) If you don’t want to get wet on a boat, pay attention to where the wind is blowing, as sitting in the correct area will minimize the splashing of water on you. Here is Justin sitting on the wrong side of the boat, he got soaking wet on the boat ride home, while I was nice and dry
“3) Make sure you are getting enough sleep, field days will wear you out and you need to make sure you are well rested! This is Justin again passed out right now because he has not been sleeping this whole week”