Surprises at the GRC

Hey guys! Julia and Kaitlyn here.

We started off this morning with pancakes and bacon. Sometimes a personal favorite adding peanut butter to the pancakes for a little extra protein. As you probably figured out from the past few blog posts, our class has officially begun research for our research projects. After breakfast, conveniently we are in the same research project group along with another one of our classmates, we headed to Snapshot Reef on the west side of the island. Here we collected data to answer our research questions; how long does it take for a cluster of Social Feather Dusters to reemerge from their tubes once they have been frightened? As you can see to the left, we observed a cluster of Social Feather Dusters alongside Mustard Hill coral.

As we have been in the Bahamas, we have been snorkeling in various different locations with coral reefs. Mustard Hill Coral is one of the corals we have learned in lecture and now is able to be identified in the field. Mustard Hill Coral is a stony coral that provides habitat for Christmas Tree Worms. The coral appears to be fuzzy and this is because of their extended polyps. Polyps are the individual anemone bodies that are used to catch plankton to feed nitrogen to the zooxanthellae.

Once our research location was finished, we headed back for lunch. Lunch today was our absolute favorite meal here at the GRC, hamburgers, French fries, and lemonade! We all sat outside in the pavilion to enjoy the nice breeze from the partially overcast day. This afternoon our class spent a lot of time studying for our second exam. Studying for our exam consisted of quizzing each other on plants, corals, and birds that we have experienced in the field. One of our favorite ways of studying the birds is a daily activity of naming them on our trunk rides with Dr.  Phillips. Through this activity, we have been able to identify Gray Kingbirds and American Kestrels, just to name a few.

American Kestrels are the smallest member of the falcon family. This type of bird is commonly found on the top wire of telephone poles. Males have blue wings while females are larger and colored red and brown. The Gray Kingbird is a smaller bird that perches on the bottom wires of electrical wires. These birds appear to have no legs by the way they are perched. After studying we went to dinner and had a very nice surprise for our Wednesday.

Dinner was roast beef, steamed vegetables, potatoes wedges, and a salad. The professors pulled us into the dining hall where they provided us with delightful Bahamian treats. The first was a Guava cheesecake. Guava is a tropical Bahamian fruit. Our second treat was Guava Duff with a Guava butter sauce to top it off. We headed over to our classroom to study before the exam, just to find another shocking surprise. One of the crabs a research group is using, decided to scale the wall. Unsure of how to retrieve this giant land crab, we successfully put him back into his box and began our final moments of preparation for our exam. We ended the night talking about what our last week at the GRC will consist of; lots of research.

That’s it for us! Julia and Kaitlyn, signing off.

-Julia Valentine ’18 & Kaitlyn Zavesky ‘17

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