It has been a very busy week for me and Kelly in the field! We have been in the field for long hours every day taking UV measurements, conducting our last surveys, retrieving iButtons, collecting additional anemone tentacle samples, and processing the samples in the lab.
The highlight of the week was definitely our trip to Little Harbor and Shark Harbor yesterday. It was really nice to be together with the whole MBQ group and to see a very different part of the island. Though Little Harbor did not have rocks that were appropriate for us to collect data from, we were able to find some anemones on cliffs and in crevices that we were able to collect samples from and analyze for symbionts. In Shark Harbor, however, there were lots of rocks perfect for our study. We collected a good amount of data on anemone density on the different faces of rocks and also collected several tentacles samples that we analyzed back in the lab.
Kelly and I have been getting progressively better at quickly and cleanly collecting tentacle samples in the field and obtaining clear images of their symbionts under the microscope in the lab. Though unfortunately none of our samples have contained any zoochlorellae, we are very glad that we retained this component of our project as it has been very interesting and educational!
Today we were ready to collect our last set of UV data from Catalina Harbor West, but unfortunately the UV light meter was not cooperating. It seems like it needs to be sent in to be recalibrated. Shortly after getting dropped off at Cat Harbor, we had to call Dovi to pick us up. It turns out that this was extremely lucky for us as a few minutes after getting picked up, it started raining.
We spent the rest of the day today cleaning up the lab, importing our iButton data, and doing statistical analyses. Though at first we faced some major obstacles navigating the R software, we made some major breakthroughs and were able to conduct most of the analyses and create most of the images we wanted to.
It has finally sunken in that we’re leaving the island tomorrow. I thought I’d be excited to go back home and see my family and friends, but now I’m sad and not ready to leave behind this beautiful island and my classmates and teachers who I’ve grown so close to over the past five weeks. Overall, the MBQ has been such a wonderful experience. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. I highly recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity!