H. Droese- Day 4


Even without diving, today has been spectacular and a knowledge enhancing day. Everyone in marine one went first todo a snorkel on Savannah Bay. Because Savannah Bay is a marking point between the Caribbean and Pacific waters, there’s a unique visible distinction between both bodies of water. Everyone in marine one broke into groups and snorkeled for about forty minutes and collected various amounts of vertebrates in the reefs, including some single cellular sea bubbles. When each group came back, we pooled our organisms into various plastic containers with one larger one designated as the touch tank. We found multiple types of sea urchins, each of which had clearly visible suction tubes in order to keep themselves on the ground. There was also a bearded fire worm in one of the containers. After agitating it, it let loose a volley of barbs, each able to cause intense itching and burning if lodged in someone’s skin. Predictable with something with the word fire in its name. Sharing a separate container were multiple arrow crabs, decadent with iridescent claws and yellow lines coursing down their bodies. After moving my hand near one, I was able to notice how robust its thin appendages are and how well it’s motor skills are developed over many years of evolution. The crab was easily able to move around the tank, using each leg gracefully to flee my hand as it got closer. Next to an arrow crab was multiple larger urchins. This creature possessed rather small appendages used with the effort of suction to grapple itself to the ground. Along with an internal gyroscope and moving black and white spines, the urchin is able to right itself and know wether on not its facing the ground. Together with some slugs, Beth also managed to capture a Peterson cleaner shrimp. Something I hadn’t known was that they clean your cuticles if you leave your hand near them for long enough. After wrapping up our touch tank and returning the creatures to their habitats, we ate lunch and headed back to the marina for a briefing on sea turtle tagging. Heading to the boat, we then prepared for the fun of getting tugged behind a boat and going after sea turtles. While in the water, the occasional plow through patches of jellies resulted in several stings on my hands and two across my body. The main objective of the tagging was to find hawksbill turtles in the reef. However, after multiple sightings, we were nowhere near catching, let alone tagging a single turtle. The end result was nothing more than multiple close encounters with turtles, but no results in the area of new tags or finding older tags on turtles.