Hello Muddah! Hello Faddah!

Here we are on the last Wednesday at Camp Coconut!

This morning started off a bit earlier than normal with a wonderful guitar performance from Andrew over breakfast as we all prepared to go out at 8am to meet a group from the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) to place juvenile urchins out on the reefs!

Bright and early out on the Bay!

Bright and early out on the Bay!

We may act like urchins with our spiky exteriors without our coffee in the morning, but we were all VERY excited to see the baby urchins!

We may act like urchins with our spiky exteriors without our coffee in the morning, but we were all VERY excited to see the baby urchins!

DAR’s project is to place thousands of native urchins grown in the lab out on the reefs to help maintain the invasive algae problem in Kaneohe Bay. This morning, we got to help participate in this project by placing 3000 new juvenile urchins out on Reef 14.

We had to make sure we weren’t lURCHINg the trays so that we didn’t lose any while snorkeling!

We had to make sure we weren’t lURCHINg the trays so that we didn’t lose any while snorkeling!

Afterwards, we swam across the reef in a line to take GPS data points and collect information on locations that still had algae but no urchins. This information will be used in the future when DAR goes out again so that they won’t have to search around the reef for locations that need urchins. They’ll now know exactly where the urchins are needed! And the baby urchins were an adorable treat after a very long night of statistical analysis yesterday.

Can you sea how tiny these little guys were? Too cute!

Can you sea how tiny these little guys were? Too cute!

If you ever have the opportunity to play with urchins while simultaneously participating in science, DON’T SAY NO!

If you ever have the opportunity to play with urchins while simultaneously participating in science, DON’T SAY NO!

Even our wonderful TA’s Becca and Tara got in on the action! Becca saw three fluorescing cuttlefish while placing out urchins, and we also watched a hammerhead stop by and scope out the scene! (Don’t worry mom, we were on the boat when the beautiful and majestic beast swam by!) Unfortunately we didn’t get pictures of either of these incidents, so you’ll just have to take our word for it. And with a mere two days left in our time here, we lost three more valiant heroes (Becca, Anita, and Dr. Rodgers) to Team Sting today. Those darn man o’ wars!

The rest of the day was spent mostly in the library doing more statistical analyses and writing up our discussions over lots of snacks and coffee. Write, revise, repeat!​​​​​​​​​​

As our adventure here on Coconut Island comes to a close very soon, we’re all feeling the pressure of our time crunch increasing! I think as an overall, we can all say that not only has our time here been ridiculously stressful, but it’s been incredibly informative and interesting, and despite the problems we’ve had to work past again and again, we’re all definitely better for having taken this whirlwind of a summer course!

On that note, I shall leave you with one last message:

Sea urchins were archaically called sea hedgehogs.

Much Aloha, Sarah​

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