It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Actually it’s just a bunch of Abudefduf saxatilis (Sergeant Major fish) who are fighting bravely and ferociously to fend off invaders from their reef homes. Luckily, the people of Jamaica were not angry organisms such as the Abudefduf saxatilis, rather, they were warmhearted and loving people. Upon arrival, our group was met with astounding amounts of love and genuine care and concern for our comfort and well-being at Discovery Bay Marine Lab located in St. Ann Jamaica.
It did not take long for the lovely kitchen staff to supply us with delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner on our first full day at the research station. In between these precious food breaks, we students listened to a couple of lectures outlining the general ecosystems in Jamaica’s waters. Unfortunately, some of us had to endure a lengthy dive training video in preparation for our certification tests this upcoming weekend. Despite our day of hard work, we were given a large amount of time to snorkel around the lagoon of Discovery Bay with our instructors.
In the morning, our group swam through different ecosystems including sea grass beds, coral establishments, and mangroves. During the morning swim I spotted various species of fish, invertebrates and a lot of algae (most of which I’ll eventually learn the names of). One pretty remarkable marine organism I saw was the Sharptail Eel (Myrichthys breviceps). This creature was nestled pretty firmly under a coral outcrop with only its head pointing out into open water. When I moved around the coral a little more I was able to see the rest of its long body. Myrichthys breviceps has a long cylindrical body covered in purple/maroon skin with bright yellow spots all over. For the first day in the water, I was very happy to be able to see such rich biodiversity and clean waters in the bay.