|Me and Scott observing bird behaviors at the Florida Aquarium.|
My week at USFSP was amazing! Unfortunately our research cruise on the Weatherbird II was cancelled, but Dr. Judkins did an amazing job making up for it! We were able to observe animal behaviors at the Florida Aquarium one day, we kayaked through mangrove forests, observed oyster reef biodiversity, and worked on our marine organism identification skills.
|Image of me and Emily identifying marine organisms.|
Most of our week was spent identifying the marine organisms that Dr. Judkins had stored in her lab. The most challenging organisms to identify were the plankton that we collected by the College of Marine Science. This was the first week in our five week course that we had worked with plankton. Thankfully we had Dr. Burghart to help us when needed. I enjoyed seeing how the plankton interacted and moved. I was very surprised by how many species could be found in such a small volume of water!
|Me kayaking through Weedon's Island.|
My favorite day of the week was Thursday. We went to Weedon’s Island and kayaked through the mangroves. I’m usually am not a huge fan of mangroves, but the canopies they created were gorgeous! We were also able to compare water quality in two different parts of Weedon’s Island. After exploring the mangrove habitats we collected clumps of oysters from an oyster reef nearby. With the time left in our day we observed the biodiversity and species abundance in the oyster clumps. The most abundant species found in/on the oysters were mud crabs and barnacles.
Despite the technical glitch that prohibited us from our cruise on the Weatherbird II, I had an amazing week at USFSP. I enjoyed being able to practice using a field guide to identify unknown species that I may encounter in my future endeavors as a marine scientist.