Plankton, Reptiles, & The Walking Trees

Today we started out in the lab again. This time we were looking at Zooplankton we collected under the microscopes.

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Crab Larvae
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Copepod
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Polychaete
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Salp
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Copepod
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Skeleton Shrimp

After lab we ate lunch!

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The delicious Sushi that Megan made for lunch!

Because of strong winds & swells we couldn’t go in the water today, so instead we headed to the local reptile park!

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Tuatara Reptiles found only in New Zealand. Although they look like lizards, they are actually part of the Order Rhynchocephalia. Tuatara are the only remaining species of this order, as the rest of the species flourished around 200 million years ago, & are now extinct.
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This free fella is called the Day Gecko. Because unlike most Gecko’s, he is not nocturnal. (Creative name isn’t it?)
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Leopard Tortoise
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Tarantula Molt
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This monkeys name is Harrison. He is the only non-reptile at the park, & only resides here because he is too old to be put back into the wild. Sadly his partner died about two years ago, so he is now alone. He’s about 40 years old & healthy, which is extraordinary for his species!

It was interesting to hear the owner speak about why they have this Reptile Park. Like many others, I am not a fan of raising animals in captivity (zoo’s), but the owner raised a very good point. All of the species he keeps are native to New Zealand, & many of them are very hard to see in the wild because of their declining numbers, & nocturnal nature. Because they’re so hard to see, many New Zealanders do not understand that the reptiles need to be protected because they don’t actually know they’re there. This reptile farm heightens peoples awareness to the reptiles around them.

After leaving the Reptile Park we went on a hike at Ti Point. It was beautiful & muddy, & I loved every second of it.

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The whole gang (minus Ros & Jenni, our Ta’s)
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A selfie from Ros & Jenni

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We were all in awe because we felt as though we were walking through a scene from the Lord of the Rings. It’s easy to see why the trees can walk in the Lord of the Rings, because these massive trees are amazing in real life. 

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Climbing in a large Matakana Tree

Satisfied & muddy we returned to the Reserve for dinner & our minute talks! We were each given an animal & a cultural/landmark subject to research & give a small presentation on. I was assigned the Kingfish & the Southern Alps. This is the link to all of our information.

After our minute talks we turned in for another round of cards. Up & Down the River seems to be the game of choice (Thanks Uncle Rob for teaching me!). Slowly everyone started to walk back to the dorms to go to sleep for the night, but Kelcy, Madel & I stayed up gabbing for a while.

New friends & New places.

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