January 7



How many different species of reef fish can you identify in this picture ? Hopefully, the students can get most of them as their identification practical exam is tomorrow night. Photo by Sara and Ashley

The day began cloudy and windy, but by 11 am, the clouds had cleared, and we were graced with fabulous sunshine for most of the day, with trace amounts of precipitation occurring intermittently throughout the day. Rachel, Ashley, and I went out for an evening snorkel, and on the way back, a beautiful and full rainbow appeared in the sky, and rain began to fall. While underwater, we could feel and see the rain coming down, and it was really quite an amazing thing.

Wish us luck on our test!

– Sara

Today was yet another splendid day in Jamaica, complete with unpredictable weather, goat for supper, and a test review session. Unlike the previous days, today held a much looser schedule, allowing us ample time to work on our photo libraries and study for our upcoming exam. As most of our days have, today began at 8am with breakfast (this time it was pancakes and fresh fruit). Following the feast, Joe and Brad gave us the day to work on our photo libraries that are to include algae/plants, fish, and invertebrates found around the reef at Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory. Working in pairs, we have been photographing and gathering a variety of organisms, storing some in the wet lab at Discovery Bay; after taking the photos, we’ve identified the plants, algae, and inverts down to genus and species.

The top 5 coolest finds (according to me) are as follows:

1.) The sargassum fish [True story: Thinking this was a leaf floating at the surface of the ocean, I snagged this fish with my bare hands, soon realizing the leaf was actually a fish. A victorious moment for me!], 2.) The banded arm brittle star (Ophioderma opressum) [Don’t be fooled by their fragile appearancethese guys can book it! And they’re not afraid to break a leg… really…], 3.) The Spotted seahare (Aplysia dactylomela) [Their oddly soft texture coupled with their spotty appearance makes this fellow from Phylum Molluska loveable to all], 4.) Green grape algae (Caulerpa racemosa) [The common name couldn’t be more accurate. This algae is way cute, so it makes the cut], and last but not least, 5.) Fireworm (Hermodice caranculata). Tomorrow, everyone will present our findings and identifications in Powerpoint presentations. Tomorrow also brings our first (and last) exam for the course! Joe and Brad were generous enough to host a review session, and we’ve been doing nothing but studying for it (in between snorkeling and sunning in the beautiful Jamaican sun) all day and night long.

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