|Me on my 900th dive in the Keys!!|
During the summer of 2016 the Childress lab took another group of Conservation of Marine Resources students to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. We were able to continue collecting data for ongoing projects including the reef surveys, coral transplants and parrotfish territoriality. I am happy to report that parrotfish populations are still thriving on our reefs and the coral transplants look healthy overall!
We also started a few new projects this summer. Thomas has increased our efforts to understand the fish community by including cleaner goby abundance in our reef surveys. He also filmed cleaning stations so we can better understand the behaviors of cleaners, observe the reactions of other organisms to the presence of cleaners and determine the overall impact these gobies might have on the reef ecosystem.
Randi continued her observations of damselfish territoriality and we are happy to report they are still incredibly abundant and as feisty as ever! We even caught a few damselfish that have taken up residence near our coral transplants and tagged them using colored Elastomer. We hope we can use these tags to identify individuals in October and estimate the duration of territoriality in these Chihuahuas of the reef!
|Good Luck in Hawaii Lauren!|
Though she graduated, Lauren was able to spend some time in the field this summer training Abby on the parrotfish territoriality project. Abby hopes to increase our sampling effort across some new reefs and take more fine scale data on what makes for a good parrotfish territory.
In June, I was able to travel to Honolulu, Hawaii for the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium! I was able to meet some of the great researchers in my field including Jeremy Jackson, Nancy Knowlton, and Deron Burkepile. I also attended talks given by Peter Mumby, Bob Steneck, and Mark Hixon, just to name a few. It was a wonderful and moving experience to be a part of such an amazing group of people all working towards the same goal of conserving coral reef ecosystems. Thank so much to my old Clemson friend Caitlyn Genovese for putting me up and showing me the island!
The Childress lab is excited to return to the Keys in October to continue our sampling efforts and do more acoustic tagging of parrotfish. Stay tuned for an update on our next adventure!