Sunday, 11 June 2017

Week 4: USFSP

Starting off the week we had a day of lecture with Dr. Judkins over the open ocean, identifying cephalopods, 

Identifying squid!

and a plankton activity where we were put into groups and had a race to build the best two plankton, one that could float the longest and one that took the longest to sink. It was not the best of days considering all the lectures and being in a classroom all day, but the plankton activity helped lighten the mood! For Tuesday, we were supposed to go out on the Weatherbird to conduct offshore and nearshore research all day and night, but we received some bad news that there was a problem with the engine and it had to be worked on the next day. It was disheartening because that was going to be one of the best days of the trip, but there was nothing we could do about it and we couldn’t even blame the weather for it! Tuesday still turned out to be a fun day since we ended up visiting the Florida Aquarium. We also got to tour the Weatherbird before the aquarium which was exciting because even though we could not go out on it we still were able to see everything on the ship and how it worked, along with all the labs on the ship. 

Getting a tour of the Weatherbird.

The aquarium was still my favorite because I personally love aquariums, and I loved being able to explore the aquarium with the other Shelby and see all the different animals and ecosystems that we have been to. We mainly went to the aquarium to study animal behavior, but once we finished we had plenty of time to go exploring and I got to get one of my now favorite shirts! Wednesday was a more frustrating day because we had to identify what seemed like thousands of organisms! I have drastically improved my identifying skills compared to the week in the Keys, I thought it was hard then! 

Identifying for hours!

Also, we looked at plankton samples we had taken that day and the night before. Remember when I said identifying earlier? Ten times worse with plankton! Although it was fun seeing how small these plankton were and see them move around. After plankton identifying, we split into groups and received previous Weatherbird data and came up with a question to study that we had to present Friday. Thursday was one of my favorite days as well because we were out in the field! We split into groups of two and hopped in kayaks to test water quality and check out the ecosystem, and went through these neat mangrove tunnels. 

I guess the other Shelby did not seem as happy....

The way back was rough though, because we had the current and the wind pushing against us and my arms were hurting so bad! All I wanted was out of that kayak! After we finally rowed our way back, we ate lunch and Casey and Sarah retrieved oyster samples for us to examine. We were split into groups of four or five, given a hammer and an identification book, and told to go for it! We found a ton of mud crabs and barnacles. We also found many tiny snails and even a polychaete worm. On Friday, all we did was wrap up our statistics on the data for our question and finished the PowerPoint. Me and Shelby answered if salinity influenced fish length in both offshore and nearshore stations in 2014, 2015, and 2016. According to our analysis there was so significance, and watching other people’s power points was fun because we could see what kind of questions could be answered with the same shared data. After the presentations, we took our post-test and our week in St. Pete was already over! It was definitely a great week even though we did not get to go on the Weatherbird. Thank you Dr. Judkins for keeping us busy and the week was one to remember. 

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