Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday Morning

The morning dive at Fish Den revealed two seahorses, a lobster, and a good variety of corals that we heard about at Jen's lecture. We added tilefish and spotted drum to our group fish list, for a total of 62 that we can identify for sure. Many neon gobies posed nicely for pictures on coral heads and sponges. Most vase sponges had brittle stars inside. Can't wait to snorkel at Man'o'War Key this afternoon!

Afternoon Update: The trip to the mangrove proved that this ecosystem is an important nursery for the reef. The group saw juvenile barracuda, sergeant majors, schoolmaster snappers, angelfish and grunts. The invertebrates were interesting as well. The group snorkeled with upside-down jellies, fireworms, decorator crabs, featherduster worms
and brittle sea stars.

After the snorkel, the group headed back to the lab to investigate clumps of calcarious algae and "pick out" the living organisms including two tiny octopi, snapping shrimp, flatworms and over 6 different species of serpent or brittle stars. What a fun way to end the afternoon. We even got to see the tiny (arm span of 3") octopus ink several times as he swam around the container.

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