The last days have been full with many activities. On Friday all of the research teams went to the field to collect more data for their projects. Several hours in the field usually translates to twice as many hours in the lab sorting through samples looking for copepods, nudibranchs, and/or gastropods etc.
Saturday morning we returned to the field, after which the students took the practical exam at 1:00. They did fabulously well…. Callinectus sapidus, Laurencia papillosa, Histrio histrio, and another 50 species seemed to be familiar friends to them by this time in the trip.
Saturday afternoon we loaded up the cars and drove the 2 hour drive to Key West for some sight seeing. After dinner and some shopping we meandered around Mallory square watching the street performers. We returned fully exhausted to the research station around 11:00 p.m.
Sunday we continued the more than 40 year tradition of singing several hymns at the Layton Baptist Church. (Click here if you are interested in a thorough recounting of the history!). The afternoon included relaxing, grocery shopping, and a rousing match of sand volleyball at Sombrero Beach in Marathon.
We returned in time for dinner and a night snorkel. Night snorkeling affords the chance to see the nocturnal activities of spiny lobster, crabs, and fish. The highlight for many was seeing bioluminescence – as we swam in complete darkness phytoplankton sparkled and glowed at the tips of each of our fingers. It is truly magical.
Monday was a full day of lectures and field visits. Tomorrow will be our last day of data collection, and then students will begin analyzing their data and writing their final research papers.
– Ryan for the team