Monday, August 11, 2008
Where is the reef going?
The morning started with a lecture from Education Coordinator, Jennifer Keck, who has been conducting research on reef diversity since 1996. She provided insight into changes taking place on the reefs around Roatan. Some of the damage has come from El Nino events and hurricanes that hit this small island. Over a 12 year timeframe, Keck has seen changes in the amount of corals covering the reef, as well as the species of corals found.
Afterwards, the group headed to Wayne’s place for a dive/snorkel. The teachers saw large groupers and colorful reef fishes. The divers threaded their way through a coral maze, filled with a number of swim-through tunnels, while the snorkelers kept watch above. One of the snorkelers commented that it was fun trying to catch the divers exhaled bubbles as they headed to the surface.
In the afternoon the group headed to Man-o-War Key to view the extensive mangrove islands that provides habitat to many types of animals. The group also snorkeled along a beautiful back reef area where many saw a 5’ nurse shark resting under a coral ledge. After collecting algae, the group headed back to the lab to pick through small inhabitants, including crabs, brittle sea stars, mantis shrimp and even a tiny octopus. This hands-on learning experience really gave the educators a real lesson on the productivity and diversity of algae.
Posted by Garry Dole at 7:50 PM