17 Jan AM – Success is….

…failing without losing enthusiasm, according to Dr. Peterson. So in his eyes, Kyle’s and my research project is a success.

It seems as if almost everyone has made at least minor changes to their research project after realizing that their ideas didn’t go as planned. Kyle and I began studying the eating habits of Diodon holocanthus (balloon fish) and seeing if it was consistent with the optimal foraging theory. However, it’s very hard to observe eating habits when your fish won’t eat. Although several sources have told us that D. holocanthus love to eat sea urchins, we’ve only gotten them to eat two since we’ve had them. We have four urchins of various sizes neatly placed in each of our two tanks. Day after day we check to see how many have been eaten, and everyday the answer to that question is zero. We tested the strength of various sizes of Lytechinus variegatus and Eucidaris tribuloides urchin to see how much crushing power it would take to flatten them, and then formed our hypothesis based off of the results. Smaller urchins are easier to break open than larger ones, therefore we hypothesize that if D. holocanthus were to maximize their net intake of energy, they would eat smaller urchin. Our experiment so far has been a whole lot of trial and even more error. We have a bunch of data on an experiment that just isn’t working. Right now we’re seeking alternatives, but we’re not giving up just yet.

Picture 1
 Kyle and I stacking tiles to see how many it would take to crush a sea urchin.

 We’re completely done with lectures and have been only meeting as a class once every other day to update our professors on how our project is going. Those of us who have had a lot of waiting time in our experiments have had the luxury of spending some time in the sun (although Dr. Warren picked on us a little bit for tanning). I’ve ditched the Banana Boat after sun for the aloe plant growing next to the dock, and miraculously I’ve yet to burn; it’s funny how much we overlook natural cures in America.

  Picture 2
The dock, where we do most of our tanning.

 After today, we have only 3 full days left in Jamaica! I’m really going to miss it and I definitely am not looking forward to the New York cold.

– Brooke Learned


5 thoughts on “17 Jan AM – Success is….

  1. Those research projects sound amazing. All the time and effort you put into them will definetly be worth it. Good luck!!!!!!!

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