“Our Final SCUBA Adventure” By Caciques Pheobe Fitz and George Giannos
The community began the day with some frantic last minute studying for our Final Oral Assessments in research. FOA’s are different for each research project, but FOA’s help evaluate the students understanding of the scientific method. For example, the Patch Reef FOA was a prompt given to the students, one at a time, asking them to design an experiment on the effects of an invasive shrimp species to the eel grass beds in Massachusetts waters. While waiting for our individual turns to be assessed, we waited with our research groups and prepared for the Research Symposium tomorrow.
Following FOA’s and a filling lunch, we embarked on our final SCUBA adventure. At “Shark Alley,” one of the SCUBA classes came in close contact with a baby Black Tip Reef Shark. The newborn swam within feet of the lucky SCUBA students, and practically swam between one of the Meaghan K’s legs. As the SCUBA class hovered over “Shark Alley” they longed to see another shark but instead were approached by a large Southern Ray. As the sediments in the water that the shark stirred up began to settle, the ray became in clear vision. Out of the dark depths the little shark reappeared and swam in unison with the ray. The site was spectacular and the students truly felt the harmonious balance of the ocean.
Later, we were pleased to hear that multiple nationally renowned shark scientists were on campus. At 7:15 the community met to receive a presentation from Steve Kessel and Brian Franks. They talked to us about the aggregation of Lemon Sharks in Bimini and Florida along with the Lemon Shark nurseries. The students were extremely grateful to hear from these scientists and as the semester has continued the longing for more information has grown. The end of the presentation was filled with clarifying and complicating questions that showed how much our community as a whole has learned about marine life.
The Fall 2010 community has grown everyday and continues to grow in our final four days.