Jamaica, the beautiful tropical island where everyone wants to go for that perfect getaway vacation. In my opinion, it is definitely worth every minute coming here and everyone should experience the beauty of this island!!! If you have the opportunity to take this class, go for it mon! The class is very interesting and the material that you learn here will be beneficial for you no matter what career path you choose to explore. Becoming certified as a SCUBA diver is one of the coolest things I’ve done and now I can spend even more time with my head under the water. We also got some great field work experience where we could set up our own experiment and learn efficient data collecting techniques. My partner Maria and I decided we were both interested in the common sea urchin, the Tripneustes ventricosus. Unfortunately our initial idea for tracking the urchins and seeing if they were territorial was a complete failure due to unfavorable weather conditions, strong currents, and limited visibility. So we modified our plans to focus on the urchin’s rate of movement in different marine environments. We gathered five tripneustes and put them in a tank in the wet lab and measured the distance they moved every fifteen minutes. We did this for three hours during the day and two hours later on during the night. We expected the urchins to move more at night but to our surprise their movement was a lot greater during the day. The next day did the same experiment but we added some complexity by putting rocks on one end, a simulated grass bed on the other and leaving the center bare. We hypothesized that the Tripneustes would go for the grass bed (since that is where they are most often found out in the bay) but they surprised us again by heading for the rocks and planting themselves there. For reasons we can’t fathom, one urchin flipped onto his back within the first 15minutes during every trial and refused to flip himself back over. We were right though in our guess that they urchins would move less when more complexity was added. On Monday we finally had a day that was nice enough to do some field work. We tethered 10 Tripneustes and put them in two sites, a sea grass bed and an area of barren sand. We measured how far they moved on an hourly basis for five hours. Well, ok roughly five hours. When we went out to measure for the third hour we found out the hard way that our little Tripneuste patch was surrounded by jelly fish. After two stings to my bare leg and one sting on Maria’s bare hand, we concluded it was best to abort and flee from the army of superiorly armed jellies. We decided it was best to allow them time to move from the area because we had some good data anyway and we figured waiting an hour or so wouldn’t be devastating (whereas going out their might have been bad for our health). I can honestly saw that was the only bad experience I had on the reef (and even then it’s not too bad because now I have a story to tell). Other than that I’ve been in awe at all the aquatic life that is here and have seen several stingrays (including a spotted eagle ray that we caught on video!!), a plethora of brightly colored fish, a couple of large moon jellyfish, and one octopus that was squished up in a cinder block. Bottom line, Jamaica is AWESOME!!! Cool runnings mon!