Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Time has Come...

Hey everyone,
So as my title suggests, the time has come for me to post my final blog to the CMR page. Yes, I am officially graduated from Clemson! I am very excited to be done and have my degree, but it is also bittersweet because I no longer get to work with this awesome group. Being in this CI has been one of the best parts of my time at Clemson. I have learned a ton and made some great friends. I also have had many amazing experiences. I never would have thought that I would get to spend half of my time at Clemson doing actual research in marine science, and even more that I would get to go to the Keys to do it! The experience I have had in this group has been incredible and has definitely prepared me for a career in marine science and graduate school. It is the reason I was able to get the job I'll be working at for the next year before heading off to grad school. I'll be working as an Aquatic Research Intern at The Seas Pavillion in Epcot at Walt Disney World. I could never have gotten this position without the research and animal care experience provided by the CI, and I am so thankful to Dr. C and Kylie for letting me be a part of it all. I can't wait to see what the future has in store for me and although this may be the last time I post here, I know it won't be the last time I get to work with these awesome people. Thanks so much for everything.
-Tommy Boy

Monday, May 1, 2017

Are you sure I'm graduating?

After 5 years of college, I'm finally graduating in 2 weeks. As I reflect back on my 3 years at Clemson, I think about all the amazing people I've met and all the amazing things that I've gotten to do. One experience really sticks out for me and it's joining the Conservation of Marine Resources Creative Inquiry Team. Clemson doesn't have many marine biology classes or affiliations so finding the CI has been an amazing opportunity. 

With the CI, I was able to go to the field twice. This past time in the field was probably the best though. Over spring break, we were able to take the whole team to the field and show everyone why we love going to the keys. It was so much fun to watch everyone react to seeing everything under water. Probably the coolest part of the trip to was going to collect the coral fragments in key west. Mote Marine Lab donated over 150 corals for the team to transplant over the summer. One of the reasons that the corals were going donated to us is because the nursery was being torn down. Once we got there, we found out that that docks that corals were being kept under was condemned and the gravel area that we were standing on was a sink hole that could blow at any minute. Nevertheless, we collected our baby corals and took them back for transplantation. 

That trip was the perfect ending to my time at Clemson and the experience I gained through creative inquiry was invaluable. Because of the creative inquiry team, I was able to get accepted to a masters program studying Marine biology. I know that when I start my masters, I will be able to use all the knowledge I gained through creative inquiry and I am forever grateful for the experience. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

But I don't want to leave the best CI ever......

Hi everyone!
Well, as I'm sure you've figured out from my title.... I'm leaving Clemson! And I really don't want to...  I actually graduated in December (2016) but continued volunteering in the lab because I loved the experience, knowledge I've gained, all the wonderful people, and the keys was amazing!!

Let me just say that it was such an eye opening, unforgettable, and wonderful experience to be able to go stay in the Keys Marine Lab over spring break and see what field work truly is! Not only did we have beautiful weather, but we had clear waters and great visibility that made snorkeling for the first two days unbelievably beautiful. And diving in the ocean for my first two times was SO FUN!!!

After learning many species of damselfish, parrotfish, wrasse, and many other herbivores through analyzing videos for a year, it was very rewarding to see all my little fish friends under the sea in real life!! I also loved watching my other lab mates conduct the research, take pictures, do the surveys together in sync. I'm so proud of them because they truly do a lot of work for our lab!

I have to admit that I saw more eels than I wanted, a barracuda that was far too curious, two sharks, so many beautiful angelfishes, and all my damselfish babies. It broke my heart a little every time I saw coral that had been bleached or had disease.

I will never ever forget the best spring break ever that I spent under the sea. I will carry the experience, knowledge, and love for the ocean and all marine life every where that life takes me.

So my next step in life is to teach middle school science in SC, where I hope to create an after school program that will allow kids to learn and appreciate the ocean as much as I do.

Enjoy the pictures :)

Click here to see what we've been accomplishing with damselfishes!

- Abby

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

My Firsts: Blog, Poster, Ocean Dives

My name is Caroline Stroud and I am a sophomore Animal and Veterinary Sciences student. As a volunteer in the fall semester of 2016, I fell in love with the Conservation of Marine Resources Creative Inquiry. Dr. Childress and Kylie invited me to join in the Spring on the Damselfish team, and I am very happy that I did! I worked alongside Abby T. and Sara to make my first research poster. You can see our poster in an earlier blog posted by Dr. Childress!

This spring break I was able to join the team to go to the Florida Keys. It was fascinating to see the animals, reefs, and behaviors we had been discussing in lab. One of my favorites was seeing the Damselfish chase away the Parrotfish.    
I also was able to have my first and second ocean dives! This was unbelievable. I was so amazed by the different creatures and it was peaceful to float in the water column and just take it all in.

I am learning about conducting research, statistical analysis, and much more. And it is only my first semester! I cannot wait for what the future holds for this research team. I am so glad I was able to get to know so many great people. I wish all the graduates the best and I will miss y'all!

Here is a link to a fun video telling you why I decided to join the best CI at Clemson University!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Behavioral plasticity and the loss of social behaviors in juvenile spiny lobsters - Isabella Dubnicka, Haley Krachman, Ashley Ehlert and Michael Childress

Unsocial Lobsters Spark Page

Clean Freaks: Neon gobies facilitate reef herbivore diversity - Thomas Guryan, Randi Sims, Kylie Smith and Michael Childress

Clean Freaks Spark Page

Damsels In Distress: Influence of reef composition on abundance and behavior of damselfishes - Sara Rolfe, Caroline Stroud, Abigail Towe, Randi Sims and Kylie Smith

Damsels in Distress Spark Page

Greener Futures: Substrate preferences explain variation in social structure in two species of parrotfish - Sydney Whitaker, Abigail Ehlers and Kylie Smith

Greener Futures Spark Page
Rapid Reef Restoration Spark Page