This past summer was absolutely incredible! A great way to start my last semester at Clemson, I spent the summer in the Florida Keys swimming with the fishes.
We worked on several projects this summer, including a mark-recapture study with Caribbean spiny lobsters. This focused on the den behaviors of lobsters found at the site, as well as those we released onto the site. This involved returning to the site for four days and recording the lobsters we were able to find again each day, and what den they were found in. So far, we have found that immigrant lobsters tend to move around more than do the resident lobsters found originally on site.
As well as working on the parrotfish and coral projects; we also had some fun exploring the different reefs around the Keys. After spending two months on the water down there, I must say that there is so much more to learn than meets the eye. When you first see the turquoise blue water extending towards the horizon, you can’t help but be in awe and wonder at its beauty. But that’s not the whole story, because there is an entirely different world waiting just below the surface. Undeniably a gem among our natural wonders, the coral reefs we see are some of the more damaged ones found in the Florida Keys, but thankfully there is still hope for the recovery of some corals.
As my time at Clemson is drawing to a close, I reflect on this experience as one I will never forget. I am constantly reminded of how much I love the ocean and all the creatures that call it home. Ready to take on my next adventure, whatever that may be, I will be able to take my experiences and memories from this lab with me always.