Work or Play……. Definitely both!

Hello everyone! My name is Sandra and I just finished my Junior year at Rutgers State University in New Jersey. My major is marine sciences specifically marine biology- biological oceanography. I also completed three years of college education in Portugal, majoring in marine science. Today is Tuesday, June 6th and it is another beautiful day on paradise! What a great way to start the day with a Turtle Walk and help out our marine friends by cleaning the trash of the beach. During the walk, me and my teammate Lucy found very interesting tracks along the beach. In the picture below you can see myself with an almost filled bag of trash as well as some shaped tracks along the areal line.

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I was unsure if the tracks were from sea turtles that had come to shore to nest, but I leaned that patterns like these tracks are actually from crabs. Below is an image of what hatching tracks look like – they do not have a flattened section in the middle like the crab tracks do in the picture above. This is very interesting to me because it is very important to identify the tracks and locate the nests of the turtles because it helps the Department of Environment of the Cayman Islands to monitor and locate the nests and conserve these magnificent species.

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In the afternoon, we snorkeled at Sunset McCoy’s. Our assignment was to count and identify the sea urchins in the area. I was amazed by the quantity and size of Diadema antillarum, also known as Long-Spine Urchin, that I was able to find. In total, I recorded 132 Long-Spine Urchins and I also found six Rock-Boring Urchins. In the image below you can see the long spine urchins and the slate we use to count the urchins.

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So, guys if you decide to go for a swim at Sunset McCoy’s please bring a pair of booties or water shoes! Haha.

 

This was the best evening we had so far, it was dodge ball night! It was very exciting all the interns and staff from CCMI including Alli, Tom, Drew, Claire, and Jess participated. It was a great way to interact and have fun. It was also my first time playing which made things even more interesting. I am even more excited for tomorrow because we will dissect and suture Lionfish and identify their stomach contents. We will also identify different species of fish by looking at their scales.

This has been a once in a lifetime experience so far. We wake up on a paradise island, face new challenges, and learn super cool stuff every day. It has been the most direct interaction between myself, the ocean, and its living systems. It has been a dream come true. I am so very grateful for being part of an awesome team and for making such new precious friends.

18945303_10213543876017636_204776158_nUntil next time!

Sandra Costa, Rutgers University
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