Today was the start of the more scientific and experimental part of this trip. As a group, Jack Bandiera, Patrick Keyes, and I put our hypothesis to the test. To start off, we followed accordingly to our planned procedure in which we searched for three different staghorn corals of different health and compared the amounts of fish that interacted with each cluster of staghorn coral.
As I gathered data for our case study, I discovered that there is a vast and healthy amount of species of coral near Ginger Island. When we finally found good examples of less healthy coral, medium healthy coral, and very healthy coral, we set up four markers over a 25 square feet area to measure the amount of fish swimming near the coral. At the end of the day, I learned that staghorn coral is considered to be critically endangered, which made me realize how helpful research on staghorn coral may be.
Looking forward for…
Since my group and I were lucky and unexpectedly finished gathering data over the course of two dives, tomorrow I look forward to exploring more exciting areas that my dive instructor, Tara, might know about. I hope that I can go back to Ginger Island tomorrow as I did today because of the two reef sharks and the porcupine pufferfish that I saw.
My favorite part of today was my rare encounter with two blacktip reef sharks while I was gathering data for my case study. I also enjoyed snorkeling with the divemasters and dive instructors from Devil’s Bay to the beach right behind the resort I’m staying at. Even though I had a hard time keeping up since my group snorkeled for about one mile, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing many red and black sea urchins, a yellow striped wrasse, and all the different species of coral.