Recent Posts

May 7, 2015

The Amazon River gets filled by tributaries like the Lupi, a clear creek that runs next to our home for this first week in the rain forest.    We arrived here just in time for a quick swim — then dinner and some well-deserved rest.  The women in the group are staying in Barbasco Cabin, named after the plant that native Kichwas traditionally use to stun fish.  The men are in Guayusa Cabin, a plant used to make a local tea we’ve been enjoying daily. The next day began in the classroom, a rented space in a nearby church, where…

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May 7, 2015

Research begins!

What a beautiful day!   No wind and lots of sun–perfect for spending the day in the water.  Students began work on their research projects today, visiting their research sites in the morning and early afternoon.  Student groups were at Anne’s Beach studying Fiddler Crab behavior, in the mangrove channels studying sponge re-growth, and at Triton Flat and the Bight.  The water was clear which made taking sweeps, laying transects, and recording behavior much easier.  The groups in the Bight had the lucky opportunity to visit with a manatee that came up next to the boat.  Definitely a highlight of…

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May 7, 2015

Getting Acquainted

The past two days have consisted of various tours of the city and getting acquainted with where we are staying and having classes. We also purchased Oyster cards, which allow us to  use all of the public transportation around two central zones  of London. Today we visited the different arts venues that we will be going to for various shows while we are here. Some of these locations include: – Southbank Centre – The National Theater – Tate Modern Museum – Shakespeare Globe Theater – St. Paul’s Cathedral – Royal Opera House – Actor’s Church (St. Paul’s Church) We toured the city by dividing the…

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May 6, 2015

Bighty and the Beach

On Monday, we visited two habitat sites.  In the morning we went to the Bight where each research group did a Thalassia sweep to collect nudibranchs.  Nudibranchs are shell-less snails with brilliant colors and extravagant dorsal structures called cerata.  As we pulled the anchor into the boat to leave, we were surprised by two dolphins!  Everyone was excited to see them in our “backyard.”  In the afternoon, we visited the rocky shore at Anne’s Beach.  We were interested in observing chiton, barnacles, and gastropods that have adapted to life in the intertidal zone.  The Fiddler Crabs scurrying around the beach…

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May 3, 2015

Friday we went on an all day trip to a mud flat next to Long Key called Old Dan Bank.  Students laid out 1 m X 1 m quadrats in order to quantify how various species of algae and invertebrates vary across a changing depth gradient. The weather was outstanding, with low winds and sunny skies. We saw a vast array of algae, crabs, sponges, invertebrates, and even several stingrays. We enjoyed our lunch on the boat, then completed several plankton tows on the way back to the lab – capturing a diversity of dinoflagellates, crab and shrimp larvae, diatoms,…

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May 3, 2015

Off to London

Many months of meetings and preparations are nearly complete. The group will leave Goshen on Monday and arrive in London on Tuesday morning. Class begins with a walking tour to get acquainted with our new surroundings. As a GC alum it is great to experience the classroom again. I’m delighted to serve in the role of class assistant for the trip. I look forward to getting to know the students and being in London for the museums, theater and music. Mind the Gap!  

May 1, 2015

Today the weather allowed us to complete two field excursions in both the morning and afternoon.  After a lecture on seagrass ecology, we eagerly loaded up the boats and headed to the seagrass beds for a morning of snorkeling. Much of the morning revolved around becoming comfortable in our new aquatic environment, which included how to swim among the jellyfish. We saw plenty of Cassiopea xamancha, the upside down jellyfish, as we collected samples of seagrass, sponges, and algae. We returned for a quick lunch so we could visit another site in the afternoon, a mudflat we call Triton flat….

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April 30, 2015

Ecuador is rich in biological, economic and cultural diversity. Its rain forest is home to countless species of native flora and fauna. The nation exports petroleum, bananas, cut flowers, shrimp, cacao, coffee, lumber and fish. And more than a dozen distinct indigenous groups still reside in the mountains and jungles, seeking the benefits of economic development while attempting to maintain the traditions and customs that have sustained their communities for thousands of years. The forest that begins in the Andes Mountains and extends eastward toward the Amazon Basin offers a living laboratory for applying the insights and tools of ecological…

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April 29, 2015

The incessant rain and thunder showers cannot quench the energy and excitement among the 18 students who are here in the Florida Keys for the 2015 Marine Biology course.  All the students arrived safely last evening and today we have been spending time in orientation, lab setup, and grocery shopping.  The weather promises to break – we’ll be snorkeling before long! More pictures and updates will be coming.

May 25, 2014

The final blog

Wednesday May 21st, 2014 After many hours of hard work, fun times, and great experiences, our journey together has reached it’s end. Today was the last day of class and it started out with some early morning studying. Our final exam was at 10:30 a.m. and the time for studying beforehand had been minimal. However, after two hours of non-stop writing most people came out feeling pretty good, other than a few hand cramps. We had a chance to wind down after lunch and to let the realization that the 2013-2014 school year was officially over sink in. In the…

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