Day 7: Science!

The Thumb

Walking towards “The Thumb” on East Beach (also called “Trash Beach”.

Today’s post is by Kayla Bouchard:

Today was a little different than the other days we have had here. After breakfast we met in the lab to go over the order of operations for our first day of research. We loaded up the back of the truck with our gear including one meter quadrats, transect lines, dive floats, scrapers and our waterproof paper, and drove to our first site, Trash Beach. W hich, much like it’s name suggests, was covered in garbage that had washed up from the Atlantic Ocean. After braving the “wasps”, many of us explored a large rock formation nicknamed “the thumb” where we enjoyed the ocean spray from the large crashing waves. When we were finished exploring, we drove to North Point where we ate lunch and prepared to collect data.

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Hard at work on the North Point patch reefs.

We entered the water, awkwardly carrying all of our research equipment, and swam to the patch reefs, where we laid out four different transect lines. We swam along the line and recorded the herbivorous fish, and used the quadrats to determine percent cover of algae in three different places. We also observed the herbivory pressure on these algae by floating and recording any fish that took bites in a ten minute time period. Then we attempted the nearly impossible task of scrapings of the algae from one of the squares in the quadrat to bring back to the lab. After this was completed we swam back to shore and left Dr. Zajac and his kite and returned to the station to take quick showers (Dr. Kelly picked him up later). Unfortunately we weren’t able to take naps like we wanted to, because we needed to return to the lab to organize and weigh our algae. We placed all of the data in spreadsheets and were finally able to do what we had all been thinking about all day, sleep. Science is hard work.

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A quadrat used to measure algae and coral coverage on one of the North Point patch reefs.

 

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