Wednesday, July 18, 2012

MSI Week 2 Update
On Monday, the interns searched through Sargassum seaweed to find and identify as many different organisms living within the seaweed as they could.  The interns found various worms, crabs, Sargassum shrimp – Leander tenuicornis, Sargassum fish – Histrio histrio, and a baby nudibrach or Sargassum Slug – Scyllaea pelagica.  Check out the video below of some of the little critters the interns observed through their microscopes:

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    Sargassum Fish                                         Sargassum Shrimp 

Additionally, on Monday afternoon the interns traveled to the ship scar of the Mari Boeing to practice measuring coral recruits.  The interns laid down 30-meter transect tapes, placed quadrats next to the tape at randomly predetermined intervals, then measured the size of the coral recruits using vernier calipers. 

During the day on Tuesday, the interns participated in a DAN course that taught them how to  provide oxygen to people suffering from decompression illness.  Then, the interns snorkeled in the mangroves near BIOS and identified the different fish species living there.  Tuesday night, the interns participated in a special night dive at the wreck of the Dredger.  The interns saw many examples of nocturnal activity and had lots to say about it:


In their own words:

Jeral - While diving at the dredger I spotted a soapfish.  This was my first time seeing one in the wild.

Rawleigh - Le Night Dive at the Dredger wreck held a feeling of excitement for me.  The real revelation to me was the multitude of new wildlife that I had never seen before that emerged that night in the dim and murky water around the stricken ship. Among the new creatures to me was the Arrow crab, a Fire worm and a pair of Octopodes.

James - Last night’s dive was amazing. The wreck was bigger than I expected, with masses of coral growing off it.  We saw many different fish, from coneys to some octopi.

Kori - We traveled far into the depths of the Dredger searcher for all sorts of creatures lurking through the night. The creatures that approached me had different figures; Hogfish, Octopi, Doctorfish, Ocean Surgeon, Honeycombed Trunkfish, Arrow Crabs, Fireworms, Snappers, Goatfish, Breams, and LOADS of coral.

Joshua - Many of us didn’t know what was going to be down there.  It was amazing how many types of fish inhabited this massive ship. We saw a few coneys, triggerfish, groupers, and even some octopi mating. It was an exciting experience.

Megan - Its huge frame loomed in the darkness, and seemed even more eerie as we began our dive while the sun was going down. 60ft being the deepest I had ever dived, I was slightly nervous, however, within minutes I had forgotten my fear and was totally immersed (haha << get it .. immersed..) in my surroundings.

Eric - The valiant MSI team took a plunge into the dark depths where dwells The Dredger.  As the interns descended, colonies of Montastrea cavernosa battled for their existence.  A lone grunt erupted from a cloud of detritus.  Many floating creatures were ensnared by the traps of painted tunicates, which coated the surfaces of the wreck.  Anemones became active, stretching their tentacles ever farther to consume nearby creatures.  The team was taken by surprise when oddly misshapen hogfish swam through the skeleton of the ship.  Like the slaves of Circe, these fish are twisted to look like swine.  Had we stayed until more monsters of the night awoke, who knows that would have been the fate of the MSI team?

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