Sunday, 11 June 2017

In Retrospect: A Week at USFSP

I was extremely excited for this week. I could not wait to finally be back at my home campus. Not only was it a relief to be back in my home town, but it was also exciting to show everyone my school. Most importantly however, I couldn't wait for everyone to meet Dr. Judkins.

On Monday, we did exactly that. Dr. Judkins gave us a general overview of what we were to expect for the week, as well as some background information on plankton. After a few hours of lecture, it was an exciting surprise when we were tasked with identifying preserved cephalopods using only their morphology and identification guides. Later on in the day, we did receive some bad news. We found out that we would not be able to go out on the open ocean research cruise.
We had quite the experience trying to
identify this little guy
A beautiful snowflake moray eel 
While we were originally disappointed about the cancellation of the Weatherbird cruise, we were pleasantly surprised with a trip to the Florida Aquarium. Before that though, we got a tour of the ship before it was removed from the water to be repaired. I had an enjoyable time observing animal behaviors for our assignment. It allowed us to take our time and appreciate the animals much more.

We got to observe plankton that we
collected under microscopes
Wednesday was particularly interesting. While it was not as eventful as some of our other days over this summer, that didn't make it any less fun. We spent most of the day identifying organisms that had been collected from previous FIO cruises. It was very satisfying to think you know what it is, just to have it confirmed by Dr. Judkins.

Our fleet of kayaks off of Weedon Island
Thursday was one of my favorite days however. We went kayaking out of Weedon Island, where we traveled through mangrove forests, and collected water quality samples. While we had a few complications with a few of our test kits, the day went off without a hitch. I loved going through the thin mangrove tunnels. We were forced to use the prop roots to crawl our way through. It was a beautiful place though, with small crabs climbing up every tree branch, it was like another world.

This is the end of our fourth week, and we are heading into our final week of this course. While I am excited to see what UWF has in store for us, my heart is heavy knowing that the end is near. This has been an incredible experience, and I can't wait to expand my knowledge at UWF.

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