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SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans
June 12, 2015
Field Trip to Hulopo’e Beach
Hi! My names Dejah, I'm from Chicago, Illinois and am a rising sophomore at Cornell University and I'm writing today's blog. The previous day, we went up into the mountains and were taught by students from the Lana'i elementary and high school about the pine trees and different aspects of the ecosystem as we hiked up into mountains. Today we had the opportunity to teach many those same students about topics we were pretty familiar with, which included coral reefs, the nitrogen cycle (and how that connects the land to the sea), fish dissections, island geology, and tide pool biodiversity. Our group, which included Parker, Kat, and I, walked the students out to the tide pool, introduced them to tide pool safety, and then we had a discussion about tide pool ecology and some of the species living in these extreme environments. After that, we gave the students time to go explore the tide pools and check of some of the animals living in them. I love working with younger students, because I learn so much from them. They were so smart and actually taught me a lot, including the Hawaiian names of some of the fish swimming around the tide pools.
After teaching the students about our specific topics, we had lunch and then moved on to our other group projects (This program is group project intensive if you can't tell!) My team is the physical and geological team so we had to collect water from tide pools, onshore, and offshore. Once done, we had snorkeling time and had to identify the specific animals we were assigned. (I had Moorish Idol and Cauliflower Coral). There were no Moorish Idol that I observed but I saw plenty of Cauliflower Coral, which I marked and tallied up for the reef survey. While out there snorkeling, I wondered if there were any connections between the type of species present and the presence of certain coral. For example, if there are cauliflower coral, is it highly likely to find parrotfish living in them?
During the snorkel, I saw so many fish, a lot more than I saw while we snorkeled on Oahu. I saw a lot of triggerfish, parrotfish and doctor fish. I also saw a lot yellow tang. After a while of snorkeling, it was very cool because we saw a sea turtle! I've never seen a sea turtle while snorkeling in the water. It was small but still very cool. Hopefully more sea turtle sightings are in our future.
After the long day, we had dinner (pasta!) and then some of us had free time to go see Jurassic World at a local theatre. After that we had to start packing because tomorrow afternoon we leave for Maui. The program has ben one field trip after another and I am excited to see what else is in store for us.