Rockin’ Reefs

Our morning began like yesterday with data collection and observations of dolphins at Bailey’s Key. We conducted our first space use data collection, and all were mildly confused but more practice and discussion helped (see below). The dolphins were spread out and somewhat social with a few leaps here and there.

After a hearty and yummy breakfast, we spent a short time in the classroom reviewing how to collect the space use data. We also learned the focus and intent of the space use data – to understand how the dolphins use the full area of the lagoon.

At mid-morning, we grabbed our snorkel and headed for Maya Key where spent the day. We snorkeled an amazing reef. We also got to tour the replica Mayan ruins and meet several rescued and rehabilitated animals that call Maya Key home. Once back at AKR, we returned to Bailey’s Key to practice space use data collection with Kathleen and Manon. And we all learned how best to take panoramic photos for the space use data.

After running through three baseline scans each, we were just finishing when the trainers arrived with the last feed for the day. We were invited to observe the sessions and trainers. We got to sit on the platforms and meet some of the dolphins. (Thank you to RIMS, the dolphins, and the trainers!)

Our impressions of the day:

MacKenzey – I really enjoyed the opportunity to speak with the dolphin trainers and talk to them about their preferred training methods.

Michaela – Very unique experience exploring Maya Key and getting to hold a White-faced Capuchin monkey.

Eden – It was nice getting to see a new key and new animals.

Noa – I really enjoyed watching the dolphins show off their behaviors.

Catalina – I enjoyed being able to be so close to wildlife and to hold animals.

Alyssa – I really enjoyed going over the space use data and getting confident with the those data collection.

Annelise – I held a baby sea turtle and a dolphin gave me seaweed during a training session.

Kayvon – A dolphin (Rocky, I think) kissed me during the training session.

Flora – It was great to go over the dolphin video and really try to cement who was who dolphin wise, in our brains.

Camdyn – It was really cool seeing the different life at Maya Key – in the ocean and on the key itself.

Jade – Seeing all the animals at the rehabilitation center was really cool and I liked learning about their native ranges.

Paige – I enjoyed hearing the student stories of unique discoveries on their snorkel. Different partners found different things and it was really cool! (Especially the sea anemone!)

Don – The best way to observe fish is to become a fish, Jacques Cousteau.

Manon – It was interesting to watch the student as they tried to ID dolphins during the video review.

Shane – Lotta really cool fish on the Maya Key snorkel, even though I missed the spotted eagle ray that swam above me.

Tomorrow is more data and observations as well as our night snorkel!

Until tomorrow,

CSU Double D’s