Monday, 22 May 2017

FIO Week1

One excellent week down, and four more to go! The first week in the FIO program was strenuous, but extremely fun and gratifying. Day one had us out on the St.Johns river studying sound ecology. The river is highly developed, with several ports and constant boat traffic. Unfortunately it is also a key habitat for dolphin population. We used a hydrophone to take samples of the rivers soundscape, in order to better understand how this noise pollution may be effecting the dolphins hunting and communication. Day two we went for a hike across five different types of beaches. We looked at natural and developed inlet, as well a natural and developed barrier island. We also viewed a rocky intertidal beach, formed by ancient coquina shells and calcium carbonate. We didn't do any official measurements this week, but the walkabout clearly illustrated the massive effects human development on sandy shores. Wednesdays focus was on tides their effect on species diversity. This day was split into two parts. One in which we went fishing for sharks, and the other seining the mouth of a creek during low and high tides. While the sharking portion of the day produced very little in the way of shark catch, I had a blast learning just how to catch them. During the seining portion we learned how to identify and count the catch, and actually gained some interesting results comparing the high and low tides. The final field day at UNF was probably the most intense one. On this trip we got to play in the mud along a transect line set up in a recovering mangrove marsh. The transect was set up in order to study the development patterns of a mangrove marsh. We collected data on the size, coverage, and percent abundance in several per-established quadrats found along the transect line. We also drew pore water samples, a way to determine the water quality found between the sediment particles. I also got to sink knee deep in mud, which was a blast. Overall the first week was a great experience. It was so much fun to finally see how classroom knowledge can be used in the field. It was also a blast learning my away around the equipment and different techniques applied in all of these different environments. Can't wait to see whats in store next week!

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