Yesterday was our first research block.  To begin it, all research groups met to listen to a guest speaker who gave a presentation on his extensive work with sea turtles.  Stephen Connett described the different species, their ecology, history with human interaction, and his personal work with turtle conservation. After this inspiring presentation, the groups broke apart for their individual class time. We continued to study background information, then I, along with my Lionfish group, dissected lionfish. In dissecting lionfish, we were able to learn the ‘do’s and don’t’s’ for handling these venomous fish.  We also got familiar with identifying their gender, stomach contents, fat content, and checking their brain cavity for otoliths, a marker of age.  We felt like real researchers learning the most recent scientific methods used on lionfish.  In addition, we sent samples of our fish to a lab for DNA testing, and otolith examination. 

Today, we begin the morning with the second day of run/swim trial days where we are given the opportunity to try out each of the tracks that we can train for. Tomorrow, we look forward to having a long lab period in the morning for Research, and then having our first Settlement Day in the afternoon where we will be visiting local families to learn about their histories.  Everyone looks forward to Sunday for a bit of relaxation, and getting to explore the island in depth, including access to the inner loop!