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! https://spark.adobe.com/page/GoeUlttcuCLtN/