The underwater visibility sucked mostly – dolphin observations because of silty waters. It’s hard to study behavior when you can’t really see it. So, Kathleen retrieved the SM2M, which was still recording! Yeah!! The red light was on and the unit was not too caked with sea crud. We thought it would have more sea life growth on it. The SM2M seemed more non-descript and was bigger and heavier than we imagined (see photo of us with the SM2M after recovery).
Our morning discussion was on behavioral observations and sampling protocols. We learned that a research question must have appropriate methods in order to yield results that are interpretable and also to facilitate appropriate statistical analyses. Our discussion also will help us read behavioral study papers with a more critical eye.
After lunch, we learned how to disassemble the SM2M and were delighted to see that it was dry inside, and had recorded data as predicted by the red light! Then, we discussed and decided upon our research question for the week. Do respiration rates change for adult males according to enclosure size (i.e., surface area) over a given period of time. We’ll collect these observations over the next few days and discuss results at the end of the week.
On our first snorkel trip of the day, we got to test out use of the MVA2. It was much harder than it looks! Kathleen makes it look easy. This snorkel site was deeper than yesterday and we got to see the coral from outside the reef. Of the fish seen, we include 11 disco fish, stoplight and rainbow parrotfish, a trumpet fish, a few durgon, and a barracuda (!) who was way less curious than other barracuda we’ve seen at other places.
After a brief nap, we were back to the boat for our first ever night-time snorkel! It was not as spooky as expected. There were so many lights that it looked a bit like a dance party some times. It was VERY dark and you could look up and see the moon. Of course, when you drifted away from the light, it got VERY dark! So we tended to stay close to each other. We saw two octopus and lionfish and a spotted eel, a squid, several lobster and a big blue damsel fish chase off a squirrel fish from it’s area! There were some tiny fish that were everywhere and we’d not seen them during the day. It was an awesome experience and gave us a different perspective of the ocean.
Kathleen, Shane & the funky bunch