Sunday, 11 June 2017

Week Four: USFSP!

This week was our fourth week and we were at my home campus of USFSP! I sure was glad to be back in St. Pete; I got a little taste of home before having to move onto the Panhandle for the fifth and final week. However, the USFSP week did not go as planned, but we made the most out of it!

The original plan at USFSP was to board the Weatherbird II and head for the open ocean (about 30 miles offshore). We were going to use sampling methods such as an otter trawl, dredge, and bongos to collect samples of organisms, but the boat had motor complications. However, Dr. Judkins tried her very best to make the best out of it by coming up with alternative activities. Our revised plan consisted of a lecture day, a tour of the Weatherbird II, squid identification, identification of organisms from previous research cruises, animal behavior observations at the Florida Aquarium, plankton collection/identification, kayaking at Weedon Island to test water quality, and oyster biodiversity observations. So, as you can imagine, the week quickly turned around and I really enjoyed myself!
Me, Kayli, and the other Shelby working on identifying some filefish

Dr. J and I working on a squid identification

Kayaking through the beautiful mangrove tunnels at Weedon Island!

Looking at the week overall, I had an amazing time back home at USFSP and I learned some pretty great skills. However, I think my favorite part was studying animal behavior at the Florida Aquarium. I have always had an interest in animal behavior, so I loved every minute spent at the aquarium. Also, even though we only had to study the behaviors of three different animals, I found myself trying to observe all of the animals’ behaviors. It truly was a lot of fun.
Observing animal behaviors at the aquarium!

As for my least favorite day, I would have to say that was the plankton day. I just did not find the plankton to be as interesting as I had hoped and I had a difficult time finding and identifying them with the dissecting microscope. Also, I had obtained a plankton sample that was collected from the night before and the smell was certainly less than pleasant. But, that’s what this class is all about for me, learning the ins and outs of different marine fields and research techniques in hopes that it will help me decide what path I would like to take. Now, I can’t wait to start my final week and finish this class strong.
The crew after our tour of the Weatherbird II!

See you in the fall USFSP and hello UWF!

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