Day 6: Turtle Topics and Sandbar Scrubbing!

Even though it is the weekend, the work never stops. After a late night of brainstorming turtle topics, we starting to realize how frustrating it is to study mobile creatures rather than sessile organisms. After packing lunches and making breakfast, we all meet in the classroom, hoping our advisors would guide us in the right direction. Despite the discussion about the difficulties in researching turtles, such as abundance measurements and tracking their movements, we decided to go back out and try to collect more data about the benthic habitats that turtles may occupy and what they might be eating.

 

Today we visited reef 28, reef 14, and marker 12 in hopes of finding more turtles and moreĀ Gracilaria salicornia (or any other algae that the turtles might be snacking on)! After a boat ride through blistering winds and rainy weather, we first stopped at Marker 12. At Marker 12, all three teams (Red, Green, Blue) split up to survey a larger area on the large reef. Out of everyone, we can say that Blue Team was a major winner today! Not only did they collect lots of marine debris to put towards extra credit in our class, but they also got to see a beautiful manta ray performing flips and twirls. What a show!

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After Marker 12, we all headed out to Reef 28 for a quick swim around the shallow reef. At the reef, we went our separate ways, but we all had the opportunity to see four to six sea turtles each. Some were hiding away in the crevices of the reef while others would swim along close by. At Marker 12, we also noticed that there was some Gracilaria sp. lurking. After about an hour, we headed back to the boat and departed to the sandbar for lunch and boat maintenance!

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After a quick lunch, we all hopped out of the boat just to go back under it. With masks and sponges, we scrubbed away the algae that had begun to accumulate on the hulls of our ships. It’s always important to have a clean and sparkly ride when doing research. Once the work was done, we spent some time relaxing and hanging out in the sun on the sandbar, joking around and taking photos before we returned to work.

 

Our last stop at Reef 14 ended the boating day with lots of black sea cucumbers, urchins, and sun kissed tans.

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After we returned to Moku o’ Loe and rinsed down the boats, we headed back to our dorms to prepare for a fun night out! Team bonding FTW!!

Tune in on Monday night to find out how our adventures have continued (and if we have finally narrowed our research topics down)!

Yours truly,

Lexi and Aubreigh !

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