Sunday, 4 June 2017

Week Three: FGCU

Our week at FGCU was amazing! We kicked it off by examining some of the oyster reefs that make up Estero Bay.  At FTB, BHP, SMK, and SPC we examined biodiversity, depth, and turbidity. To examine the biodiversity and species richness of each site we sent snorkelers to fetch lift nets that had been set out by Dr. Douglas. After these nets were taken out of the water the animals found were taken to the lab for identification. At one of the sites visited we found an oyster restoration net, and on that net was a giant colonial tunicate.

Image of the oyster reef core sample.
On day number two we learned about marine geology and how to spot transgressions and regressions in large core samples. We took a five meter, metal tube out to an oyster reef to assist Dr. Savarese in collecting a core sample. After collecting the core I aided in cutting what was left of the core to avoid ruining the sample. Little did I know that this would cause me to be covered in the water we used to vacuum seal it! Dr. Savarese mentioned to us that the core sample taken could date the oyster reef back approximately 4,000 years!  After collecting the sample, Dr. Savarese took us to Mound Key where geology students from the University of Georgia were digging for remains of a Calusa Indian village. While at the site we were shown how one of the Calusa Indian homes were modeled.

Me sorting through one of the samples taken from
a seagrass bed. 
On Wednesday, Dr. Douglas took us back out to examine seagrass communities. While doing this we were able to learn how anthropogenic and natural causes can effect a seagrass environment. We used a horizontal secchi depth to determine how well light can penetrate the environment, we used cores to collect samples of species that live in these habitats, and we used a grid to aid in determine percent cover per square meter. After collecting the samples we took them back to the lab to observe organisms that were collected. Many of the organisms included snails, brittle stars, amphipods, and isopods.  We performed these experiments at seven different locations, and we hypothesized why each site may have been different in species richness, biodiversity, and in seagrass abundance.

Thursday was our last day in the field, and it was one of my favorite days of our week at FGCU! Dr. Parson began the day with a lecture on tides and currents before sending us out in the field. He sent us out on canoes in pairs of two with a GPS and two grapefruits. We were able to take the canoes to any part of the river we wanted. When we stopped we took a reading of our latitude and longitude, started a timer for ten minutes, and waited to see how far our grapefruit had traveled. After taking ten readings my canoe partner and I headed back to the Vester Marine Lab to do some calculations and map how far and in what direction our grapefruit had traveled. Although the mapping did not go as planned due to calibration/calculation issues I still had an amazing day!

FGCU was awesome, and I am so happy I was able to aid in research on Estero Bay! I cannot wait to see what these last two weeks of Marine Field Studies has in store for me! 

1 comment:

  1. Nice post Ryanne. You got a great picture of the oyster reef core sample.