Today’s dives were the first of our experiment dives. Our experiment consists of counting the number of fish and species in an 3×3 meter area. Each area was chosen based on the primary coral structure type covering it. During the two dives, we measured a reef of soft coral and a reef of staghorn coral. Interestingly, although both reefs held an abundance of fish, the staghorn area held much more juvenile fish. During the dives, we spotted a squad of small squid gliding through the water. It was amazing watching them change color to try and trick us.
After the experiment and a quick lunch on the boat, we headed over to a mangrove forest to snorkel. There, we saw a multitude of juvenile fish and crustaceans, and we even saw a few barracuda and huge group of upside-down jellyfish. I decided to forgo bringing my flippers in order to increase my mobility, a choice I regretted when our instructors revealed we would be having a swim race back to the boats.
We then took a break to discuss our experiment results before mealtime. Dinner consisted of some delicious pulled pork sandwiches and some pasta salad, a meal we all enjoyed as we watched the sun set on the beach. There was still one surprise left for use however: Casey gave me and the two other Marine Bio 2 students high-quality underwater cameras! I still can’t believe how nice they are, it’s almost too much! Tonight, I will definitely sleep well.