|Viewing organisms at a site on day 1|
By Emily Williams
This week at FGCU seemed to fly by faster than any other week so far! It was very interesting to study the estuarine environment of Estero bay. We learned a lot about the importance of oysters and seagrass in this region, both of which aid in water clarity and provide a habitat for secondary producers. Monday and Wednesday were both oriented towards viewing and collecting organisms at various sites and observing the differences in primary and secondary productivity at each site. Both days consisted of a couple hours of lab work after a full morning of field work in order to identify, record and view any organisms under the microscope. At the beginning of the week the lab work seemed to be the most difficult to complete because by the time we fished up in the field, most of us were exhausted. However, at the end of the week the lab work became easier and was second nature. Doing lab work right after field work is crucial for putting together all of your data. The harder part came with completing statistical tests to check for diversity and evenness. After using excel multiple times throughout the week I able to complete tests such as Shannon’s index, pielou’s evenness, and Sørensen similarity index, all skills that I was unfamiliar with prior to this week.
|Viewing an amphipod under the microscope|
Tuesday was by far my favorite day because there was an archaeological/ geographical/ historical twist to everything we had been learning. We started out by going to the horseshoe key islands and each boat took a core of the oyster island. This core went back approximately 4000 years in time and each facies, or layer of sediment visible in the core told a story of what the landscape was like and how it changed through history. After the hard work and team effort put into getting the core, both boats headed to mound key where an archaeological team was finishing their studies. We were able to first handedly see the remnants of a fort and learn all about the complex lifestyles of the Calusa natives who lived there. This was by far the most interesting day because it combined science with archaeology
|Viewing and learning about the Calusa canal and water court|
The week at FGCU taught me a lot about the estuarine environment as well as the work and mathematical data it takes to study in this environment and as a scientist in general. Big thanks to all of the professors who taught us throughout the week. I got the most out of this week because of the different areas of expertise that each of you had. I can’t wait to see what St. Pete has in store for us next!