To the Sea!

We arrived in the Florida Keys on a sunny clear day, to the Bahia Honda State Park and immediately started collecting; Jay and Jeff went though the palm trails while Chad and I headed for the beach and shoreline to look for marine invertebrates. The diversity was staggering! Within hours Chad found all sorts of marine worms nestled in the sand of different colours. I was combing though the sea grass beds for shrimps and other invertebrates; the sea grass bed is like an oasis within a sandy aquatic desert, Its roots and blades increase the habitat complexity and allow for a much richer diversity. To my amazement I discovered shrimps of all shapes and colours of the rainbow, from fiery red and lime green, to some that are transparent like glass while others jet black with large claws.

Subsample vial of Shrimp diversity from main jar

After collecting we relaxed to a dinner by the seaside where chance brought a high school biology teacher with his class on a trip to dine beside us. At first we each minded our own business, however once they saw the BIObus we got questions regarding what we did. We happily explained our cause and before long we got into a full presentation with all sorts of specimens out displaying on two picnic benches surrounded by students with eyes of excitement, especially when we took out some live glowing click beetles. Afterwards we set out night sheets where we found our first scorpion. It was a little thing but we were all excited when we found it using the UV light (we have been searching fruitlessly for it for the past month). Later that night the biology teacher joined us again as the night died down to talk more about his experiences teaching science at the high school level. This reminded me of my high school experience where my biology teacher had convinced me to pursue science. I have a great respect for the work of high school science teachers and this has rekindled my desire to teach though hopefully at the university level someday.

-Chris

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