11 Jan 2019 – ID Mania

Today our task was a scavenger hunt, we were given two and a half hours to go snorkeling and find as many things as we can so that we can come back and ID them with our group members. Within the first ten minutes I already had photos of at least 15 different things, many of which I didn’t even know what they were (I figured it out later). The real excitement kicked in when I swam over something that looked unusually lumpy so I dove down and saw it was an octopus (Octopus vulgaris). I was so excited I could barely keep my hand steady enough for a picture, but I ended up getting some pretty good shots. [Professor correction: GREAT shots!] I was able to get a picture right when I got close to it, another when it realized its cover had been blown, and one where it started to swim away; a pretty good succession. This was by far my favorite moment of the day!

Right when I got close.

When I was getting too close for comfort.

And when it decided to flee the scene.

Then I ran into a big barracuda (Sphyraena) and that enthusiasm turned into panic because of all the shiny things I had on (they are attracted to shiny things) so I quickly took everything off and shoved it into my wetsuit just as a precaution. I saw numerous amounts of other organisms, and ended up taking about 400 pictures just in those two or so hours. Then I spent another two hours with my group trying to ID everything we had gotten photos of, and the specimens we had collected and brought to the wet lab. Overall it was a very busy and exciting day, and I definitely have a bunch of species names embedded into my brain for good!

-Lea

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