We all gathered to share our last meal on Coconut and celebrate the completion of the final reports! The students had all successfully finished writing up their reports detailing studies on two NOAA Species of Concern (Montipora dilitata and Lingula reevii) in Kaneohe Bay. While relaxing and enjoying delicious enchiladas we reflected on the last few weeks of BIOL 403…..
On the water this summer everyone learned valuable marine field surveying techniques, small boat operation and GPS field mapping skills. We also had a great opportunity for the students to engage with NOAA staff in the field on a site visit to some of the M. dilitata colonies on Patch Reefs 43/44 and L. reevii sites on the Sandbar.
Back in the lab, the students advanced their technical and analytical skills by processing oceanographic samples, mapping currents, patch reefs and the GPS locations of the NOAA species of concern. All of this culminated into a final report and presentation that the students will submit to the NOAA Protected Species Division to support the management and conservation of these keys species. Beyond the practical field and lab skills we have all gained an incredible group of colleagues, friends and mentors from this experience. Each year this class takes on new scientific questions driven by a unique and inquisitive group of students and it’s always so exciting, challenging, humbling, inspiring and fulfilling to adapt our curriculum to support the student projects.
Our BIOL 403 2012 students have made great professional and personal strides during this course and have gained a Coconut family and learned how to work together during challenges in the field and lab. We are sure of their imminent success as budding marine scientists as they have demonstrated to us their dedicated and ardent passion for marine conservation science necessary to become the next Aldo Leopold or Rachael Carson. However, if success is measured by happiness in the pursuit of your true course, these students have already arrived.
“To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.” ~Rachael Carson
“We can be ethical only in relation to something we can see, feel, understand, love or otherwise have faith in.” ~Aldo Leopold