:This week has been an engaging experience in a variety of environments throughout the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area. It was incredible to be a part in progressing an assortment of research interests,
Monday provide an excellent opportunity to help a graduate student doing research. It allowed me to learn about the moments that helped students direct their research and helped guide me in the steps to my own future research interest. It was great to have a presentation the day before to provide a background. It was stunning to learn that organisms the live in the lower St, Johns and its surrounding urban landscape are constantly exposed to sounds underwater that are at the same decibel level as a rock concert. I enjoyed learning how to use a variety of water quality instruments. I have seen that jobs are interested in and ask for these skills and will be happy adding them to my resume.
Tuesday was a whirlwind tour of a variety of beach habitats. We saw that whether or not humans try to control these systems, they are exposed to high energy, and as a result are eroded. In natural systems sand is moved into sandbars and washed from shorelines. In jetty systems, the sand is removed from the south side of the jetty and piled on the north of the next. We also saw the damage from Hurricane Matthew that has washed out or blown away and sand dunes that were not covered in vegetation. Hunting all the unique tide pool residents at low tide in the exposed coquina rock showed the wide variety of adapted species from stone crabs to sea anemones.
Wednesday provided a lesson in that things will not always go to plan so you must adjust and even then you can not control nature. I enjoyed every minute learning about the processing of shark fishing and it great to be involved in the research. It was disappointing to not catch a shark on our boat, but I enjoy all the knowledge from Dr. G and Casey. I was surprised at the results of the experiment that we did to determine what species use the salt marsh and Intercoastal Waterway channel based on tide. The seine produced some interesting fish and massive differences in number.
Thursday was another great chance to be involved in gathering information that will be used to create baseline data on the spread of mangroves this data will l be used to determine whether the existing salt marshes or the overrunning mangroves are better at carbon sequestration. Again in science and as when working in nature you have to deal with the unexpected. The quadrant that my group was working on had been washed away or overgrown. Also unexpected we helped remove a kayak from the mangroves.
Friday proved a great wrap up and introduction to next week with a talk from Dr. Ross on corals and studies that are happening in the keys right know.