Day 5 Blog


Today we had two dives, the last two we would be doing on the trip. The first was to help Casey clean algae from some a coral nursery that had been set up. The nursery was made up of “trees”, PVC pipe constructs that held pieces of growing coral on strings. If we allowed the algae to grow unmitigated, then it would cover the coral and prevent it from photosynthesizing, killing the coral. Normally, herbivores are able to eat the algae off the coral, but some of the algae had grown to large for them to handle. That’s were we came in. Armed with abrasive scrubs and gloves, we meticulously cleaned the nurseries from top to bottom. After the the cleaning, we went to our next dive. The second dive of the day took place at a reef called The Chimneys. Their name stems from the large cracks in the rock that run across the reef, which are called chimneys we spent the first few minutes of the dive performing the final part of our project: gathering data for our control. We marked off a sandy area that was devoid of coral, and found that no herbivores were present after waiting for five minutes. After gathering our data (or rather the lack of it) we put the remaining air in our tanks to good use and explored the rest of the reef. The best part of the dive was swimming through a particularly wide and deep chimney that was lined with small and orange cup corals. After the dive, we went back to guava Berry and prepared to present a presentation of our findings to the adult leaders. Our findings were fairly interesting. If you remember our experiment from day 2, you’ll know that we were testing to see the relationship between stag horn coral and marine herbivores, specifically blue tang, parrot fish, and damsel fish. Our hypothesis was that the more stag horn coral, the more of these herbivores would be present. However, we were proven wrong. We found that the most fish (26) were actually present in the medium coverage area, while the second most (16) were in the complete coverage, and the least (8) were found in the low coverage area. We figured out that the reason for this was the greater diversity of corals that were able to grow when they weren’t competing with as much stag horn coral. Although it wasn’t the original intention of the experiment, we concluded that biodiversity is extremely important to the survival of reef. To improve our experiment, and add credibility to our findings, we could have used more time and a greater range of area. After finishing the presentation, we felt good that it went well, but also a little thankful it was over. After a dinner of delicious pizza, we went to bed.