13 Jan PM – Rain, Rain, Go Away…

Rain, Rain, Go Away…

It’s rained almost
every day that we’ve been in Jamaica. Fondly called “liquid
sunshine” by the staff, the rain here usually starts and ends
within 5 minutes, all while the sun continues to shine. Well, not
this morning. This morning we woke up to a cloudy, cold downpour
that’s lasted practically all day. Most of us were stuck inside all
day (though a few people did venture out and go snorkeling in the
rain), but at least we all have our research projects to work on to
keep us busy when we can’t sunbathe on the dock.

Allie 1 not the best sight
Not the
best sight to wake up to in the morning

My partner Sam and I
have been working on our project in the wet lab, so thankfully we
didn’t have to brave the weather outside today. The point of our
experiment is to measure the time it takes sea hares (sort of like
giant sea slugs) to secrete ink while we jostle them around. In the
field, sea hares secrete a purple ink as a way to deter their
predators when they’re grabbed, and they get their ink from the red
algae they eat. We want to see if limiting their red algae
consumption has an effect on inking reaction time or ink
replenishment rates. In other words, we spend most of our days
poking giant slugs until they ink at us, which is pretty entertaining
on a rainy day like today.

Allie 2 Sam inking a sea hare
Sam inking
a sea hare

Allie 3 Alcatraz finally inked
(aptly named because he’s escaped twice) finally inked!

We’ve fondly named
all of our sea hare subjects (we have 8 so far), and this morning we
woke up to a surprise: some of our sea hares had laid eggs! We read
that it takes 10-12 days for eggs to hatch, but it’ll be
interesting to see if anything happens to them before we have to
leave in five days.

Allie 4 Alcatraz and some eggs
and some eggs

Hopefully the
weather clears up over the next few days enough for us to go diving
or at least enjoy the sunshine before we have to head back to New
York. Today was the first day that I haven’t been in the water
since we got here, so fingers crossed the weather gets better!

-Allie G.

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