Monday May 10, 2021
Today we got to sleep in a little bit later than most weekdays because we were headed to Mote’s Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration on Summerland Key for a day trip! We left in the morning so we could be there by 10 for the tour by Dr. Abigail Clark. She showed us around her facilities and talked a little bit about what they did there at the compound. She showed us the labs where they do all their experiments, some of the offices, and then she showed us the big tanks where they grow all of the coral that they will put out into the ocean when it’s fully mature!
After Dr. Clark was done with the tour we went up to the second floor to a classroom and Dr. Jason Spadero gave us a lecture about coral restoration! It was truly just a day full of learning about coral restoration! In his lecture Dr. Spadero talked about the many experiments that he did here in the keys on coral reefs harmful algae growth and how that can be brought under control with a few species including Maguimithrax spinosissimus and Diadema antillarum. Dr. Spadero’s research was so groundbreaking that there are several massive restoration projects being kick started right now all across the Caribbean based on Dr. Spadero and his team’s research and findings!
Once the tour and lecture had concluded, the group headed back to the Fiesta Key’s resort, but not before stopping in Marathon to pick up some much needed groceries and a bite to eat. After that, the group split up to do their own thing and work on their reviews to their senior research questions. Right after dinner everyone gathered together to share their finalized research questions and methods.
After it got dark enough to do so, we all got on our snorkeling gear and prepared for a night snorkel! The group as a whole was a little worried and anxious about it, but once everyone got in the water everyone seemed to relax and enjoy it a lot more than they thought they would. We saw tons of Panulirus argus and many different kinds of small fish. We even saw some large Limulus polyphemus! The ocean is a completely different landscape at night, but is still just as intriguing and exciting!
Overall today was a good day filled with lots of learning, exploring, and fun. It was a very full and busy day that tired everyone out but everyone left everyone feeling very satisfied. I definitely want to look more into Mote and things that I can do for coral reefs after today!
(and Happy Birthday to Theary! – RLS)
– Theary Eash ‘23 (Environmental & Marine Science and Sustainable Food Systems)