Have you ever been face to face with one of the ocean’s top predators? They lie in wait, camouflaged spines from head to tail, eyeing any oblivious fish that swims by so they can extend their protrusible jaws and feast. This striking fish has been spotted several times this week by the lionfish research group. Fortunately for us, these lionfish hover harmlessly over the patch reefs as we conduct our research. Our project explores how currents affect the distribution of lionfish on the patch reefs in Rock Sound. Earlier this week, we took a boat out to a high-current location. The water was too strong for our flippered feet, and we had to bail, go back to campus, and practice using transects near the docks. Transects are like tape measures that we will be using to find the dimensions of patch reefs in Rock Sound.
The next few days were much more successful. In mid-strength current, it was much more enjoyable to snorkel and free dive around patch reefs. We measured seven randomly selected reefs and returned to the middle-sized reef on Thursday for more research.
CEI 83, the lucky patch reef, was invaded by divers, snorkelers, and forty-eight clod cards. Cinder blocks with the clod cards attached were placed around the reef to measure the speed of the current. After all our hard work, we surveyed the location for lionfish. After coming to a consensus of eight lionfish, our research group headed back to campus. There, we cleaned up our SCUBA gear and began preparing for tomorrow’s exciting day of research!
The Lionfish Team:
Denali, Corey, Kate, Taylor, and Mackenzie