Research in Paradise

Today we started off the day with the classic eggs and bacon breakfast here at the GRC.  It is always refreshing to start of the day with a fresh made island breakfast.

We have been full force working on our research projects.  This morning was focused on continuing testing and working out kinks in experiments.  There was an option to go to Telephone Pole Reef or stay on campus if there was no need to go anywhere.  The Sea Urchin research group focused on feeding and making sure there habitats were escape proof. The Crab Aggression group continued to study threat displays based on size of object as it was pushed towards the crab in their testing arena.  It is interesting to see how the size of objects effects the movement of the crab.  Males and females tend to be different in movement.  Do you know why? Females can be more aggravated if they have eggs due to them trying to protect eggs.  Also, time of day is being studied.  Another crab group focused on reaction to different lights; red, blue, and green.  Other groups continued their observations in the field and it will be interesting to find out their results in the coming days.

Mid-day we took a small break for lunch at noon.  We had beefaroni casserole, salad, sandwiches, and the classic GRC Kool aid.  It is always good to fuel up after a busy morning.  We had a small break until we all ventured out to a new site in the afternoon.

At 1:10 p.m. we departed from the field station to a place named the Grotto.  It is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places we have ever seen.  There were a few houses in the surrounding area but it seemed to be a very quiet beach.  The sand was very soft on the feet and the water was the clearest and most pristine.  We all had a laugh as we said we are swimming in an infinity pool! It was that clear! We all enjoyed this small break, but research was still talked about and organisms were still observed.  One interesting little guy we found was a box crab.  They are white as the sand and without noticing you can step on them.  They have huge claws and as Dr. Philips found out their pinch can hurt quite a bit. 

We finished up the day with a site presentation on Snapshot shallows reef. It was cool to learn more in depth what challenges and benefits are present in this area.  We also revisited many sites and talked about their sediment differences and concluded why there were these differences.  Dr. Welch went over poster formats for our research projects that we will be presenting next week and also next school year!

All this work is better preparing us for the work field after school.  We have learned quite a bit so far about history, geology, reefs, birds, plants, algae, and many more aspects of the island.  San Salvador is a remote island that has so much to offer that you wouldn’t normally think was here.

As you can see there is a lot going on this last week we are here in this wonderful place.  We are hard at work here on good ole San Salvador!  Signing off.

-Andrew Tengen ’18 & Samuel Bott ‘19   


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