Today’s trip to the mudflat provided another surprise. Aspen and her team were completing their data collection (examining the habitat requirements for brittle stars), when she noticed a small octopus (Octopus joubini) in the sponge she was studying. As the octopus came out, multiple baby octopi followed and we were able to view some of them hatching from their gelatinous egg cases. In total, 8 or more babies hatched and began swimming around in our tub. Wow.
After our first morning snorkeling trip, Dave Ostergren gave a policy lecture on Marine Protected Areas. Students were encouraged to examine how policies related to protected areas have changed through time. We discussed how MPA’s were created as a result of an executive order, though many marine protected areas are managed for multiple objectives at the local level.
In the afternoon, most groups went back to the field for more snorkeling. The evening was spent preparing for the practical exam on Saturday and analyzing research samples. Tomorrow we will be going out to Florida Reef for a snorkeling trip, a trip we are all looking forward to.