Sunday, 11 June 2017

Week 4: USFSP

By Emily Williams

     This past week at USFSP was enjoyable and somewhat relaxing compared to the past weeks. Due to the mechanical issues on the Weatherbird II, we were not able to do our cruise and collect our samples as planned. This called for a very last-minute change in plans by Dr. Judkins, which was pulled off very smoothly. Even though we did not physically collect the samples ourselves, we still practiced identification skills all week and were able to analyze data and present our project as if we did go on the cruise.

Completing the 1st ethogram on the
Black-crowned Night-herring
Fishy fun while identifying
     One of my favorite activities was visiting the Florida Aquarium and learning to conduct ethograms on organisms. This involved looking at one organism for a total of five minutes and recording the organism’s activity or behavior at each 10 or 15 second interval. The last activity was an activity budget which consisted of a total of 15 min observations with the same time interval recordings. Once finished, the data was made into a pie chart to display the percentage of time that organism spent doing each activity. It was a very cool method of recording animal behavior all while getting to visit this aquarium for the first time.
Kayaking at Weedon Island
Exploring the mangrove tunnels
at Weedon Island
     My other favorite activity was kayaking through the serene mangrove tunnels at Weedon Island. It was so beautiful and I had never seen mangrove forests like this before. Another cool activity was collecting, and then viewing plankton from the ocean wall back at USFSP campus. It was interesting to see how many microscopic organisms that live right along the surface of the ocean water. Copepods were one of the most abundant and easiest organisms to identify. I also identified a variety of snails, worms, and larvae under the microscope. This activity made me think twice about the accidental, but inevitable gulp of water that everyone seems to swallow when swimming in the ocean. Some things are better left unknown, but now I can creep out my friends. 😃
     Thank you so much to Dr. Judkins in her hard work to give us an exciting and informational week, despite the major change in plans. I’m looking forward to this final week at UWF!

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