Gettin’ Gro(o)vey!

Since half of our group set up the light traps for zooplankton last night, it was my groups turn to gather the traps this morning. Unfortunately, because it is winter here (southern hemisphere) we did not collect as many organisms as we would have liked, but we will work with what we have! The collection will be used in lab tomorrow.

After collecting the traps we all set out for the nearby mangroves. We put our gear on and snorkeled around for about an hour. Even though most of us are used to the chilly temps of Lake Superior water & we had wetsuits on, we all got very cold. Regardless, we saw some pretty cool stuff!

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It’s hard to see, but this is a still photo of some epifauna we saw in the mangroves.

My favorites were the crabs crawling around on the bottom, the sea slugs crawling on mangrove sprouts, and some of the juvenile fish swimming around near the sea floor. Two of these benthic fish were called triple fins (native) & blennies. It was also pretty fun to do a little free swimming in the water as another former swimmer from Denfeld, Kelcy and I swam a little butterfly! (Mostly just me reliving some glory days.)

Unfortunately, many people in New Zealand find mangroves undesirable in their backyards, so there is a lot of removal of mangroves occurring in the area. This is HORRIBLE for the environment as it increases costal erosion & takes homes away from tons of organisms.

We didn’t spend much extra time in the water as we were all very cold, so we went back to the Reserve for lunch. After lunch our school work started back up again. Today we dissected 5 native New Zealand fish, & the native urchin (Kina). It was pretty fun since I haven’t directed anything since the Fall of 2016.

*side note: these fish were taken from waters that are outside of the reserve that we are staying at. You can not take from the reserve, even for scientific purposes.

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Evechinus Chloroticus or Kina is a local sea urchin that is a crucial organism in the balance between the Snapper (pictured later), & the kelp in the reefs on Goat Island Marine Reserve. The picture above shows the inside of one after we dissected it.
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This is what a fully grown Kina looks like in the ocean. Kina’s main source of food is Kelp forests.
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Snapper Pagrus Auratus: These fish eat the Kina pictured above, this further supports the balance between Kelp, Kina, and Snappers in the Reserve.
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Tarakihi Nemadactylus
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Kahawai Arripis: The name of this fish is pronounced COW-EYE so originally we all thought that was the name of it.
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Trevally Caranx
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Gurnard Chelidonichthys: I forgot to take a picture of this fish during the dissection, so I stole one from the internet. In New Zealand children would cut the beautiful fins off these fish & dry them to use as bookmarks, so naturally so did we!

I figured I would spare you the gory details of the dissection, but it was pretty interesting. Emily decided to try and fillet one of the fish, so I got a quick lesson on that. Hopefully, I will become a pro at filleting fish this summer & be able to feed myself while on Courtney & I’s road trip to BANFF in August.

We cleaned up from lab & turned in for dinner. Unfortunately due to the weather we were not able to do much else after we ate, so we played a few hours worth of cards. I have been battling quite the phone issue with my SIM card, & become increasingly frustrated with the carrier, so cards were a welcomed distraction. (If you’re trying to get in touch with me & I’m not answering, that is why.) Thankfully, I can survive without cellphone reception. I’m mostly frustrated with the waste of money, but as we all know, money comes & goes.

It is supposed to rain throughout the night & all of tomorrow, so it looks like more lab work & less field work on the agenda.

US –> New Zealand translation of the day:

Ut = Truck

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