Monday was the first day at FGCU where we met Dr. Douglas at the Vester Marine Lab and he did a brief overview of the the Estero Bay where we would be working throughout the week. After that was done we went on to the river and went to four different locations to collect lift nets that he had previously set out three days prior to our arrival. These lift nets were then sifted through to look for and collect organisms to be brought back to the lab were we would ID and record them.
On Tuesday we were given a short lecture in the morning at Vester Marine Lab by a geologist at FGCU. He told us about how we can learn from core samples the history of that area and witness the transgression and regression of environment. Transgression and regression refer to the exchange of land between marine and terrestrial environments. We went out on boats to take two core samples, one north of mound key and one south of mound key, we used a very large tube and drove it into the ground by hand to collect a sample of the oyster reef. After we were done collecting the core samples we went to Mound key itself to witness an archeological team from UGA working on a dig site. We learned about the history of the caloosa Indians on the island. When we got back to the lab we split the core sample into meter long sections. We then split those meter long sections in half so we could clearly see the history of the oyster reef. One core sample taken had slipped around 10cm and could not be used. With the core sample that we split open we go see the the sediment change and show how it went from terrestrial land to estuary to oyster reef as a marine environment.
Wednesday we were back with Dr. Douglas and we visited 6 different site on Estero Bay to look at different types of sea grass. We took samples of the grass we found there using the verstien sampler. We also took 18cm deep core collections to determine the type of organisms at each site. We brought back the collections to the lab and went through them to identify all of the species and record our data.
On Thursday we were with Dr. Mike and we were looking at currents in the Estero Bay. We set out on canoes with two people per canoe with a grapefruit and a gps. We recorded our coordinates in degrees minutes and dropped the grapefruit and after ten minutes retrieved our grapefruit and recorded those coordinates. We repeated this 10 times within Estero Bay with each canoe taken their own unique path. With the coordinates and the standard time we're able to determine the distance the grapefruit traveled and what speed it was traveling at. We then collectively as a class marked our data on a map of Estero Bay to show the length and direction our grapefruits drifted. This made a sort of currents map.
This was our last day and in the morning at Vester Marine Lab we sorted through the rest of the samples from Wednesday and review what we had done that week with Dr. Douglas. Then we took our final exam and said good bye to the Vester Marine Lab.