Coral Reef Field work- It looks more challenging than you think
Yesterday morning, Taylor and I got up at the crack of dawn get some research done before we went to Dunn’s River Falls. We put our tanks on and headed out to our buoys by the coral reef crest. It was definitely a good workout and we were able to dive down and get a good look at the sea floor. We saw many small invertebrates that were impossible to see while snorkeling. Once we got to our sites, the measuring began! We measured the circumference and the height of four of our coral patches. We also videotaped all of the patches so that we can look at them on shore and count the biodiversity. After being tangled in our buoy line, losing our measuring equipment and avoiding each other’s fin kicks, we headed back to the shore. To say the least, this project has opened our eyes to the challenges of doing fieldwork on the coral reefs. Nonetheless, we are looking forward to going through the video footage and starting to identify the algae, sponges and corals.
Feeling accomplished at the top of Dunn's River Falls
The drive to Ocho Rios and Dunn's River falls was beautiful. We drove all along the coast and got to see small communities all along the way. Dunn's River Falls in itself felt like going to a water park. We all had a great time climbing up the falls being in the forest. It was all very beautiful!
Today we are going to do some great diving! Scarlet (the dive instructor) is taking us out to a dive site that we will be going to later tonight for a night dive. It will be interesting to see how different it will be! In marine ecology there is a concept called habitat partitioning where habitats are shared among different species. During the day there are a set of species that hide in a particular habitats and will only come out at night. When they leave that habitat, another species that has been out during the day will take over the first species’ hiding place. When I went night snorkeling the other night, I saw tons of Diadema antillarum and spiny lobster. Tonight I’m hoping to get a glimpse of a squid and octopi.
[ed: Ali wrote this before the wind picked up late in the morning — night dive is on hold for now due to weather.]