Day 2: oh… there’s a lot of stuff out there…

Professor’s note: today is our first student blog, written by Orianna Duh (with the exception of the atrocious haiku… that is the fault of the faculty)

patch grunts (Medium)

Close up of coral, algae, and several species of grunts (fish).

Our first night here went well, for the most part. Some noisy neighbors kept us up for some time, and the mosquitoes turned a couple of us into walking connect-the-dots. After our first breakfast on the island, we started to learn about identification and taxa. We went through the green algae (Chlorophyta) and just touched on a bit of the brown algae (Phaeophyceae) and red algae (Rhodophyta). The amount of greens we discussed was already more than the species we would find locally in New Haven. On the fish side, we learned that bars aren’t stripes aren’t bands and blotches are not spots. We had to keep a sharp eye out for features like those because fish have varying coloration throughout their many life stages. We learned the more common things we’ll see like surgeonfish (Acanthurus bahianus), damselfish (Pomacentridae), and parrotfish (Scaridae).

ljjjjj (Medium)

Clockwise: green sea turtle, sea plumes and fans (soft corals), bareye hermit crab, sea plume.

 

cushion star (Medium)

Cushion sea star in syringonium sea grass.

The first trip out, we practiced using our underwater cameras. We swam around a reef patch and around an old naval dock. Some people had their own cameras that they used the day before, but the cameras were new to many of us. We saw some beautiful cushion sea stars (Oreaster reticulata), a barracuda, and some of the many fish we had just discussed. There were a couple of terns checking us out as well.

On the second trip out, after lunch, we started using underwater paper to take notes on what might have been hard to capture in pictures. Underwater paper is so cool! It was an exhilarating experience, submerging a piece of paper into the water and not coming back out with crumbly garbage. We swam around North Point, surveying the many patch reefs in the area. Again, we saw many of the same fish along with some beautiful corals, a bareye hermit crab (Dardanus fucosus), and several green sea turtles (Chelonias mydas)!

bootie tans (Medium)

Showing off emerging bootie tans (Prof note: they don’t know what’s coming!).

Bootie, bootie, bootie, bootie rockin’ everywhere.

 

Day 2 Haiku:

First day on San Sal

Heat, bugs, loud noisy neighbors

Swimming… sweet relief

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