Tuesday, August 9, 2011

MSI Coral Survey

Part of the Marine Science Internship's purpose is to familiarize young adults with common scientific procedures and methods of analysis in order to prepare our interns for a future full of scientific possibility. Today, the interns became well-versed in underwater transects, coral surveys and their out of water data application. Miles Cave, one of the marine science interns reported that, “today, diving out by Fort Saint Catherine, I laid my first transect line underwater and it was fun! First, we laid a 30 meter transect line, then I swam along the left side of the line while my diving buddy Eliza swam along the right side. We surveyed 6 of the most common species of coral in Bermuda one meter on either side of the transect line.”

The interns were trying to determine how many corals of each species were present per meter squared. They took the data that each of the interns collected out on the Fort Saint Katherine coral reefs back to the computer lab to calculate the average density of each coral colony. The interns determined that Diploria strigosa and the common purple sea fan were the most abundant species of coral on the surveyed reef, while Montastrea cavernosa was the least dense.

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