Blog 2- Weeks 2 &3 (6/13-6/26)
I drove from Athens, GA to Savannah, GA which was about 4 hours in order to get to Skidaway Institute of Oceanography (SkIO). I will remain here at SkIO until August 7th. I have mostly been working with the UGA Marine Extension (MarEx) Aquarium. The MarEX Aquarium is an educational aquarium with 16 tanks of marine organisms that can all be found along the Georgia Coast. I have been helping feed the sea turtles, sea horses, and sea jellies as well as cleaning acrylic tank windows and protein skimmers. I am also responsible for the reptiles which are not on display. They have a few different snake species, mud turtles, a diamondback terrapin and some lizards. The MarEx Aquarium also leads week long summer camps for kids of varying ages. I was able to go with the summer camp to Wassaw Island, which is only accessible by boat and is a National Wildlife Refuge. We spent the day beach combing, swimming and we also did some seine net fishing for the kids to see the sea creatures.
During the time I am not helping the MarEx Aquarium, I have been volunteering elsewhere around SkIO. The Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary (GRNMS) has an office on SkIO and I attended their “Get Into Your Sanctuary” event. This was a nation-wide event on Saturday June 25th where National Marine Sanctuary Offices held outreach events to publicize the sanctuaries. The GRNMS office unveiled new informational signs which were put up at boat ramps along the Georgia Coast. Additionally, I am helping the MarEx shellfish lab with a few projects. I helped with a small scale oyster spawn for the oyster hatchery and I have been helping with a black gill shrimp experiment. My roommate at SkIO is doing research involving intertidal crabs, so I also helped her collect oyster clusters from the salt marsh, and go through the clusters to find mud crabs and other small crab species.
I have been quite busy with various groups around SkIO and I am looking forward to upcoming field work opportunities. Diving on the Georgia Coast has turned out to be quite difficult. GRNMS is about 40 miles away by boat and the seas have been too rough for us to get out there to dive, but hopefully I will get to go diving soon!