Today’s blog post comes from Naomi Peters, a junior molecular biology and music performance double major.
Today was a beautiful day! We began our morning with lecture, then hopped straight into the boats to head towards an area referred to as the Triton Flats, a shallow coastal area in the Florida Bay. We were lucky enough to observe a green sea turtle, puffer fish, sea anemones, plenty of algae species, sea worms, a spider crab, and so much more! Since the taxonomy of the majority of the organisms is still being taught and absorbed, research groups gave their own names to what we saw, like “the brown branchy thing” and “puffy tree algae”. While this was cause for some difficulty, classmates remarked about how the amount of unknown creatures present in this water was just incredible, and everyone enjoyed doing their best with identification/observation. After hours of collecting data and exploring, the return to the center for lunch and shade was highly anticipated. The kitchen smelled delectable as food groups whipped up meals like burritos, stir fry, and even peanut butter and jelly grilled cheese chicken sandwiches (don’t ask me, ask Christian).
Later in the afternoon we took a trek down to Limetree Bay, a rocky/coral outcrop in the Florida Bay. Here we happened across some dozing nurse sharks, barracuda, tunicates, sea slugs, a plethora of gastropods, and some unhappy spiny lobsters. Two students happened across a burrfish and attempted to wrangle it before realizing that it was a potently poisonous poisson. The documentary crew also had quite the day, trying out their drone (which Kyle flew into a tree – but it’s okay), troubleshooting program mysteries, and conducting their first film interviews, not to mention all of the great shots they took in and around the water. The day ended with a taxonomy lecture and designated time for identifying all the awesome organisms that we collected on our trips. The sun claimed many more victims today, and aloe vera was Layton gold, but, as Riley so eloquently put it, “Nobody drowned”.
May the fourth be with you.
Check out this awesome drone footage from our film team for a taste of their work as well!