Day 7: Sea Hares, Sea Cucumbers, and Sharks oh my!

After an eventful rest day where we sadly found a dead turtle near sandy beach on island and had to complete our teams’ project proposals, we came back to class Monday morning to review each team’s assigned methods data collection (timed swim-red, adaptive cluster sampling-purple, benthic surveying-green, and water quality-blue).  After fine-tuning our planned data collection we head out to the boats where we all split up and headed to reefs 41, 42, and 43.

At reef 41 red team was supposed to do a timed swim so we tried to split the reef in half and split into teams, but the reef was so shallow we had to inchworm our way across some coral patches to get across. We were supposed to do the entire reef in an hour, but we only managed to survey one line across the reef because we counted over 300 Fungia scutaria in that strip alone. We saw an eared sea hare about the size of a small dog, and a giant eel that almost bit Mason. We also found a sea cucumber that was as long and as thick as an arm.

Purple team was doing adaptive cluster sampling on reef 42 when they saw two white tip reef sharks, about 6 ft, and were inked by an octopus (lol).  They struggled a lot with the GPS and only managed to complete one data point of ten.

Green team surveyed six puka (hole) on reef 43, and found one that had 62 Fungia.  They also saw a ton of massive turtles that were chillin out, main relaxing, all cool along the reef. They also found out that when turtles are ready to be cleaned by fish they move their front flippers down like legs to signal cleaning fish (wooow).

Blue team rode around on their boat collecting water quality data from all around the bay using the YSI (yellow spring instrument) that senses pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, depth, and salinity.

After getting back from the field we entered our data and discussed problems we encountered and how to fix them for tomorrow.  We then had a lecture from Ashley McGowan about how the restoration of taro patches and removal of the invasive mangroves from He’eia fish pond are affecting the coral reefs and native species nearby.  Now we’re all dying and trying to crank out the introductions to our final papers.

–Maddie and Lauren

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