Wednesday, July 20, 2011

MSI: Gathering Algae and Rescue Skills

This morning, the Marine Science Interns deployed leaf litter bags amongst sea grass and mangrove ecosystems. They will return to these locations in three weeks to gather the leaf litter bags and analyze the decomposition rates in both environments.

After deploying the leaf litter bags, the students continued their 'Rescue Diver' scenarios from yesterday. Liam and John, both already certified Rescue Divers, made excellent rescue dummies as they floated 'lifeless' in the waters just off the BIOS dock. Each cloaked with their own theme-song, the interns came to the aid of their fellow students and are now leaps and bounds closer to certification. By the end of the program, all but one of the interns will be certified PADI Rescue Divers.
After lunch, the interns boarded the R/V Henry Stommel to Bailey's Bay, Flatts. There, they laid out six 10 meter transect lines and laid a quadrat at a random point along each line. They then gathered all of the algae within each quadrat and placed their samples into separate bags.

Hard at work in Bermuda lab, the interns have just identified the different species of algae present (including Dictyota, Laurencia intricata, Caulerpa, Halimeda and Dictyasphaeria) and are currently eliminating any calcium carbonate residue within the algae. Once the calcium carbonate is eradicated, the algae samples will be left to dry for 48 hours. The interns will then divide the algae by species once more and calculate the mass of the sample. The goal of this experiment is to calculate the biomass per meter squared.

Tomorrow after work there will be a BBQ for the MSI and Bermuda Programme Interns!

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