Bermuda Field Course 2012 :: Daily Report
Day 05 | Monday, March 12, 2012
Sampling seagrass beds at Bailey’s Bay
Today we split into two groups and went to separate sampling sites—Walsingham Pond (a mangrove fringed saltwater pond) and Bailey’s Bay (a shallow sandy bay). I was one of four students from UNCW who, along with 14 students from Southampton, spent the day sampling seagrasses in beautiful Bailey’s Bay. Seagrasses are flowering plants (angiosperms) that have evolved to live in the salt water. Last night, our group spent 2 hours discussing potential hypotheses that we could test in the seagrass beds and the methods to test our hypothesis. We decided to investigate how the depth of the water influenced plant density. This morning, after arriving at Bailey’s Bay, our group sent six people to prepare the site for sampling by setting up transects along the manatee seagrass bed. Manatee seagrass (Syringodium filiforme) is one of the species that is found in Bermuda. For the experiment there were many different jobs—setting quadrats, taking photos, counting seagrass shoots, and recording depth. While every step in our methodology did not go exactly as planned, we were able to troubleshoot as a group and gather the data we needed. After recording the first dataset and having lunch, a second, much smaller group, went back into the water to collect data from a separate turtle seagrass (Thalassia testudinum ), another species found in Bermuda). Data collection ran smoothly, and everyone was packed and ready to head back to BIOS to analyze data by the time the bus arrived.
Before beginning our statistical analyses, we had a discussion of the day’s successes and potential areas for improvement in the field. Tonight, we got advice from the other group about Walsingham Pond for our field work tomorrow and shared our experience at Bailey’s Bay. Talking about what worked and what didn’t work at the respective sites was very helpful in designing experiments for tomorrow.
Collaboration has been a staple of our time in Bermuda, and we have enjoyed working with the Southampton students. The opportunity to talk through potential experiments, establish the pros and cons of specific methodologies, and work together to gather data in the field has been a great exercise for us as we strive to develop our skills as scientists.
- Meagan Davis