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!