We finally got to have some fun dives! All the dives thus far in the trip have been research dives, which I have loved but it was also great to look around more at the reef and appreciate the world under the waves. Being able to look around at the fish and how they are acting was refreshing. It was not like anything I have ever seen before.
Even though we have been in the water almost every day, the fun dives made the hard work worthwhile. They have given me a renewed vision of the world under the waves. I can not believe that tomorrow we leave, I am going to miss being in the beautiful, clear water everyday.
The research that we contributed to while we were here was an experience. In the two weeks we were here we collected data and were finally able to analyze the data yesterday. The sponge project that I was a part of was looking at four boring sponge species- meaning that the sponges grow within the substrate, not that the sponge is plain and boring. The data we collected, although it was a small sample size, did report some statistically significant results in surface area of the sponge. We found that the sponge Cliona tenuis had a much higher surface area than Cliona delatrix, which were the most common boring sponge species we saw. The data we collected will go towards a CCMI researcher’s project.
Working on this project where we had to write a proposal, collect data, analyze it, and present it has given me a new respect for scientists and a better picture of what is to come. It takes a lot of work and dedication in order to get all of this work done with each deadline. I am fully appreciative for the exposure to field research, rather than the lab research I have been a part of at Rutgers.
To lighten the mood, here are some pictures from the fun dive!