On our first day of fieldwork, the team went out to our sites at the Patch Reefs. This was the first research dive for the SMURF team of Fall 2013. As half of the team dived, the other half observed from the surface while snorkeling. This dive was to learn the collection process and really get to know the overall feel of the procedure. It is generally a two or three person process: one person sprays clove oil over the unit to stun the fish, and the other two people move the basket to allow the first person to close the collection bag with our samples. We each were able to try both jobs and the whole experience was very interesting. After collecting the specimens from two different sites, the team brought the samples in collection bags back to the lab. We sorted the specimens from each collection bag and took data of its length and species. It was really cool for us all to experience the research process from both the field in the water, and also the data aspect in the lab.

On our second research dive, the students got to lead the process and the teachers mostly supervised and advised. The collection was a success and the team found our target post-larval stage reef fish as well as some larger juvenile fishes. We also found some other interesting specimen, such as Mantis Shrimp. We can’t wait to get back in the water next week and see what else we can find!