This week we were able to visit the beautiful campus of USF St. Pete, where we were met Dr. Judkins. Unfortunately the trip on the Weatherbird II was cancelled, but that had little effect on our awesome week in St. Petersburg.
Most of our time was spent inside doing taxonomy work as well as identifying and collecting plankton and talking about the major differences between plankton and Nekton. One of my favorite activities during this week involved conducting a ethogram , which is used to quantify an animals behavior for a certain amount of time. Dr. Judkins invited us to the Tampa Aquarium where we got to choose our own unique animal to observe. Using 30 second intervals over a 15 min span, we recorded is our animal was feeding, being social, non active or resting. After finishing up with ethogram, we were free to look around at all the amazing animal exhibits that the aquarium had to offer. The day at the aquarium was one of the most memorable days I will have of the week at USF.
Another highlight of this trip, was kayaking down the Weedon Island where we performed various chemical test at different sites. It was awesome to kayak down a mangrove tunnel/creek , where the only challenge was making sure your paddle didn’t get stuck in the mangrove roots. After our hours of kayaking we checked the biodiversity of oyster reefs using a hammer to break about oysters and record any moving objects we observed.
The last and final day at USF St. Pete, we organized a presentation over data collected from 2013 to 2016 from the weatherbird II. This presentation allowed us to figure out what skills we needed to improve on for future presentations as well as find trends within data collections over time or onshore Vs offshore locations.
I really enjoyed the personality of Dr. Judkins and all the University of South Florida St. Pete had to offer. Hopefully one we will be able to travel back to St. Pete to collect samples on the wetherbird II and have another enjoyable opportunity with Dr. Judkins.