Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Wind… and Song!

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

It’s Ed and Tim! Hello once again audience! When we last left our heroes, we were continuing with our research projects both on the reefs and intertidal zones. The morning was off to a slow start, but the pancake breakfast accompanied with bacon, which is the most beautiful thing on earth, worked wonders. The reef research teams had the morning off to rest for the rough afternoon ahead. The intertidal squads headed out right after breakfast to do some more sampling and data collecting. A couple from Club Med was walking on the beach and questioned the brittle star group as to what they were doing and had a nice conversation about it. For the most part, it was the most exciting part out in the field this morning.

Dani, Ben, and Hannah conversing with the Club Med couple about brittle stars

After we had our lunch of grilled cheese and soup we headed out to the south end of the island for a long swim to High Cay. It was a long, bumpy ride sure to be well worth it! We arrived at the beach and crossed over the sand dune, ready to take on the challenge. However, the water was too rough to attempt the crossing to High Cay. We weren’t too eager to hop back on to the truck and ride all the way back so soon, so we hung out and explored the beach and got even tanner! This beach was different because there were numerous conch shells strewn throughout the sand and water. Stubbed toes were a common sight. The ladies tanned along the beach, while the men skipped conch shells along the waves and played our favorite game “beached whale”.  After an hour of lolly-gagging, we headed back on to the truck back to the research center. But this was no ordinary truck ride. Something happened that has never happened on this trip. That’s right; we all broke in to song! For the hour long truck ride back to the GRC, many songs were sung, including Don’t stop Believing, I Wanna Talk About Me, and Wagon Wheel. Yours truly (Ed) became very enthusiastic when singing “Dirty Pop” by N’Sync.

Beached whales at their finest

Sun, sand, and smiles from the Bahamas!

We arrived back at the centre in time for dinner and some well-deserved naps. After we had our night class, we normally look over the pictures taken throughout the day. What some might not have suspected was that KR was taking videos of us singing on the truck. We’re sure you can guess what happened next. Oh yes, we watched all the videos of the truck ride! After that, half the class decided to call it a night and went to bed while others stayed in the classroom and watched Pixar’s UP.

We learned a lot from the experiences of today. We can’t control what Mother Nature has in store for the day and field exercises don’t always work out as planned or expected. We had to make the most with the cards we were dealt and do the best we could! In the end, it was a great day and much was learned by everybody! We wish you well from the Bahamas; this has been Ed and Tim. Thanks for tuning in!

by Ed Young ’15 and Tim Weissman ’14

Here we go again…

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

<Editor’s Note: also check out the missing pictures added into past posts>

Hello blog readers! This is Michelle and Aly writing the blog today. As our research projects are underway, today was mostly devoted to gathering data. We had an early start at 8am, having to fill our bellies quickly before hopping on the truck to be dropped off at our destinations. Here’s a brief explanation of our research project details. The Coral Reef health group is evaluating corals using a square meter grid, taking pictures of each square and measuring the individual corals inside the grid. Later, they will calculate the percent coral in each grid.

Aly, Kayla, and Nicki hard at work!

Two groups are looking at distribution and aggregation of hermit crabs in rocky intertidal zones, which involves painting many shells with various nail polish colors. The boys really enjoy this time for personal manicures! One of the brittle star research teams is investigating distribution, while the other is testing their reaction under different light conditions. Our biggest group of five students is studying coral preference of Christmas Tree Worms by lying several transects and counting all the worms within the area. The final group is looking at distribution of chitons. These projects require a variety of tides and locations, which means we are in different places at different times. Unfortunately, a Green Turtle sighting occurred with only one group present, but they came back with pictures as evidence!

Hoping to see another before we go!

After lunch we headed out as a group, which is a rare occurrence these days! Our destination was Snapshot Reef, which are familiar waters as it was our fourth time in the area but today was especially beautiful since the sun rays were beaming into the water. This also provided time for the Christmas Tree Worm group to gather more data for their research while the rest of us simply enjoyed the view and identifying all the creatures we’ve been learning about.

As you may imagine, the second half of this trip has been flying by! This may be due to the fact that we’ve had to face new challenges in conducting independent research projects, and rarely have any down time. However, the occasional break is much appreciated! This is where the true hard work comes in and many students are discovering it takes a certain amount of determination and stubbornness in order to gather data in the field on a daily basis. We are learning how to be flexible and deal with undesirable working conditions. It’s safe to say that the majority of the group is eager to get home to the families we miss, but once we do we will definitely miss this awesome experience.

by Aly Saba ’14 and Michelle Brumm ’15

Over the Wall

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Preparing to swim to the wall

This morning started off in hopeful anticipation of the quarter-mile swim from Snapshot to the wall—the point at which the beautiful blue-green water that the Caribbean is known for changes abruptly to a vast blue underwater cliff. The weather was perfect for the journey, with rays from the sun glistening through the water down over the wall. We saw a multitude of Black Durgon, Ocean Triggerfish, and Creole Wrasse. We were very excited to get this once in a lifetime opportunity to glance into a world we don’t usually get to see!

Over the wall at Snapshot!

Some students were nervous at first to swim over the wall, but once we got there, everyone was excited by the view. A large group photo shoot was immediately taken underway and came to a halt only when a large Great Barracuda swam by to investigate. We tucked all our shiny jewelry away and watched in awe as he circled the group and disappeared into the murky blue. We continued to snorkel around the wall until KR, JW and Phillips called us back to begin the return swim to the truck.

Gracie coming up from a dive over the wall!

After lunch, we split into our research groups and began working on our projects for the afternoon. At Bonefish Bay, the high tide inhibited a few of the research groups (specifically groups studying the hermit crabs), which means they get to rise bright and early tomorrow to arrive at low tide. Alex and Jon discovered that two of their marked chitons had moved into the same crevice! The Christmas Tree Worm group counted a total of 25 worms on one Fire Coral! Overall, we are making good progress on our projects.

We got back just in time for dinner and then went to class to listen to two organism group presentations. Tomorrow will be filled with more research opportunities and some spare time to complete outside assignments.

Trying to avoid the no-see-ums,

Gracie Winzeler  ’13 and Nicki Perry ‘14

Hi Ho Hi Ho It’s Off To Work We Go!!

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

After a long, hard day yesterday, today went a little differently.  The groups who are doing projects that need high tide, went out in the morning while the other groups studied for their test.  In the afternoon, the two groups switched.

Aly, Nicki, and Kayla performing research at Sand Dollar

The morning group faced some rough water out at Sand Dollar Reef. Luckily, everyone was still able to collect data for their research projects.  The coral reef conservation group took good pictures to analyze later and the Christmas Tree worm group found over a hundred worms!! Hallie and Adrianna also found a very large Coral Crab. He was hiding in a hole that he was way too large for.  We tried to pry him out gently with a stick.  He did not want to come out and play.

This is what we call a Christmas Tree Worm Farm

When the afternoon rolled around, it wasn’t quite low tide, so the groups had to hang out and wait for a little while.  Doing these projects have taught us all patience, and that not everything is easy or turns out like you expect it.  After a little delay, the groups got right to work.  The projects for the low tide folks consist of hermit crabs and brittle stars.  They all gained much ground on their projects.

A bright red Coral Crab hiding in a small hole trying to stay out of the powerful waves

After some last minute cramming, our exam was administered. Many found this exam more difficult than the previous, but we are all still confident in our newly gained knowledge.  Once students were done with their exams, they were asked to leave the class room to allow others to finish.  But as soon as you walked out the door you were greeted by a giant swarm of mosquitoes.  Many students were doing some funky dance moves to keep the bugs away.  But at the end of the day we all reassembled to read y’alls comments and bond by watching movies, doing crafts, and telling funny stories.  We have all become very close and are getting to know more about each other every day.  Tonight we will rest up for our swim to the drop off tomorrow.  Most students are excited while some others are apprehensive.  More dude points could be earned tomorrow.  I hear that Dr. Phillips gives great pep talks when it comes to the wall. Hopefully his inspiration gives students courage.

by Adrianna McDaniels ’15 and Hallie Donathan ’13