During our Creative Inquiry’s most recent research trip to the Florida Keys, we discovered a lot of interesting and exciting things above and below the water. For some of the trip, we were hard at work snorkeling and performing a census of the biodiversity of various marine habitats. An important fact we learned is that at first glance, the ocean floor may not always appear to be a very happening place, but when you take the time to dive down and explore (usually with the help of a tickle stick), a whole new world of marine organisms comes to life. While exploring we discovered numerous kinds of sponges, algae, and corals in areas that are experiencing both species die-off and recovery. Although it takes some practice, by the end of the trip we were busy finding and naming interesting and dynamic sea plants and animals.
Not to be overlooked, the Florida Keys “wildlife” above the water is as interesting and eclectic as our underwater discoveries. Our trip to Key West served as a good introduction to the Keys locals, who work hard to give tourists a good dose of Bohemian yet American culture at the Southern-most point of the continental U.S. We enjoyed good food and people as we toured Key West and explored other places such as the Safari Lounge back on Long Key. Needless to say, the Florida Keys are full of interesting discoveries, both above and below the water, that we will be sure to remember for years to come.