So today, as our first day, we of course had to spend a good amount of time in the water! As a group we were able to help some PhD students with their project, which was cool but labor intensive. They are looking at the effects of sea turtle grazing on a sea grass called turtle grass, also known as Thalassia testudinum (not sure how I am going to remember that one). I have learned that if I can tie the scientific name to something that I more commonly know then it might go better. But anyway, we had to cut the Thalassia right where the new, green grass blades are growing because this is where the sea turtles actually eat the grass – we were literally mimicking sea turtle grazing! We were all a bunch of weird looking turtles. Although, I thought we looked more like whales because we would have to duck down into the water, cut as many blades as possible in one breathe, and then surface to take another breathe. In order to not get a big gulp of salt water we would have to clear our snorkels which reminded me of whales clearing their blow holes!
Our next adventure included identifying hard corals. This was a lot of fun because we snorkeled out from the beach to the reef and we learned how to identify a few (15) common hard corals. What isn’t too fun about this is that we will be quizzed on our coral identification in order to partake in coral surveys done by CCMI. SO basically, I am going to study my butt of in order to get these scientific names down pat so I can do some coral surveys! BUT we are starting slow, one by one -I’ll get them all eventually, positive thinking!
First one of the day is the symmetrical brain coral! Also, scientifically known as the Pseudodiploria strigosa. It looks like a huge boulder, but because it is a coral- it is actually an animal! Not sure how I am going to relate this one exactly in order to remember – but up close it is covered in STRIations–STRIgosa ….maybe?
But to better enjoy and not get weighed down by the heavy Latin of the science world… here are some cool things that I saw in addition to the coral (I have yet to learn how to identify these guys properly but I’ll let you know when I do)!
Some huge lobsters! And some really pretty fish that I have never seen before! If you can zoom, there is a cute little blue guy with some……. Pseudodiploria strigosa!
Until next time!