• Subtropical and Marine Biology

Day 10: Continuing Research

More Research!

Today, we continued our research projects, due to incoming weather that's not so great. We split up into our respective teams, and headed out for the day.

Teams Tidal Wave and The Fuzzy Chitons went out to check their tide pools, and came back with specimens to quantify and observations to qualify. They also did some snorkeling in their spare time. 

Algal Hydroid at Rice Bay

Team Glub Glub headed out early this morning to Sand Dollar Beach with the professors, hoping to spot some schooling fish, and maybe a shark or a barracuda while snorkeling around the reef. We didn't. Jen did get caught up in a chub-nado trying to count fish, but managed to successfully avoid the stalking bar jacks. We also had quite the adventure trying to return to shore, as the current was stronger than we expected, and we ended up on a different beach! Fortunately, our destination was just over the hill, so no big trouble.


After lunch, Teams Glub Glub, Snorkel Bob, Cubs Win!, and The Gruesome Deucesome all jumped in the truck and drove out to Rice Bay to explore the reef there. The current was weaker here, but still gave us something of a challenge as we drifted much farther than where we started. We dove in at one end of the beach, and minimal effort brought us in at the other side. There was nothing especially spectacular here that we haven't seen at other reefs, though we did get some good data for our projects. As usual, Jen and Kari were the last to surface, but it inconvenienced no one.

Team The Gruesome Duecesome decided to head out once again to observe some more parrotfish, and the rest of us remained beached to pass the time. There were cartwheels and backflips, sand-ball fights and "sandy bums." But the best was the sighting of the elusive Sand-shark, and the massive Sand Turtle.

Austin swimming with the Sand Turtle

Ok, so both are entirely made out of sand, but they are extremely rare, as they can only be found when Luther Biology is about. What started as a simple message in the sand, "Luther J-Term, 2014" (Kari was actually demonstrating her impression of a jumping bean), became a picture, and then a sculpture. And then another one. And another. The Turtle had much better placement on the beach than the Norse head, for which Austin B. sacrificed his body as a surf-break during construction. He was promoted to Sand Relocation Team for turtle construction, and took the opportunity to swim beside the completed specimen. And possibly save it from the comparitively smaller Sand-shark quickly closing in behind it. Which Steve A. proceeded to ride.

Steven riding the Sand Shark

All in all, the day was fairly successful. Data was gathered, projects were progressed, and we left our mark on the sand.

The turtle building team
Sand Norse Head
Drawing in the Sand: the preliminary sketch