Today was a cool, very windy day. We started our day with lecture at 8:00am where we learned about trophic cascades. Trophic cascades can occur in the marine system when top predators are lost, often due to overfishing. The loss of predators means an abundance of prey which can change a marine community significantly. We also learned more about Phylum Echinodermata which includes sea stars, brittle stars, sand dollars, and sea urchins. After lecture we were released and had free time to study and enjoy the cool weather while eating lunch outside.
After lunch we headed to Lime Tree Bay where we helped one research group collect data for their project. We were separated into groups and assigned to collect a sponge and record the organisms that came out of the sponge within five minutes, then the sponge was put back safely in the water. As we were packing up our equipment to head back to Fiesta Key, we found a very interesting octopus in the rocks at the shore. We all had a chance to watch as it rapidly changed colors while moving between the different colored rocks.
After we got back to Fiesta Key, we all gathered for dinner where we ate tacos and Jody’s famous ice cream cake. Some of us then watched the sunset and finished up on our readings for tomorrow. Overall, it was a nice day in the Florida Keys.
– Seja Lang, ’25