|Monitoring a transplanted coral on the reef|
We had another productive summer in the Childress Lab in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. We were able to visit all of our reef sites to conduct another round of reef surveys. I am happy to report that parrotfish abundance and diversity remains high. The coral fragments we transplanted three years ago are still present and are showing some vibrant colors. Hopefully these will continue to grow over the next few years.
This summer, we were able to have some new faces in the field. Madison and Jaclyn were able to put their scuba certification to use for their first dives in the ocean. We saw loggerhead sea turtles, sting rays, nurse sharks, dolphins, plenty of parrotfish, vibrant corals and many other marine organisms. Lauren and Randi also spent their summer in the Keys and were able to establish independent projects, which is a first for our Conservation of Marine Resources Creative Inquiry Team!
|Marker to determine territory size|
Lauren spent her time underwater following supermale redband and stoplight parrotfishes to determine their territory size and the number of other parrotfish they interacted with. This will hopefully bring us a step closer to understanding how these parrotfish impact the coral reef ecosystem. Randi spent her time watching bicolor and dusky damselfishes, the Chihuahuas of the reef. These aggressive fish are commonly seen chasing many fish, including parrotfish, from grazing on macroalgae and may have a strong impact on the competitive interaction taking place between macroalgae and coral. Stay tuned for an update on what their data reveals!
|Dr. Rod Bertelsen with Captain K!|
|Spiny lobster with an acoustic tag on its carapace|
I am also very excited to report that this tagging project has lead me into the next portion of my research and will play a major role in my dissertation work. In October, I will be going back to the Florida Keys to work with FWC and learn how to surgically insert these acoustic tags into parrotfish! This will allow us to answer questions about where these parrotfish go in the absence of divers. Stay tuned for more from the Childress Lab!
|Randi and Kylie on the boat|