Microscopes and animal traps
Starting where I left off yesterday, I headed back out to Fowler’s Bay beach with our marine biologists to continue taking soft sediment samples. This time we took some Quantitative Data, which required five random samples at each chosen depth of water (lucky I brought waterproof boots!). Sabine and Orlando are fantastic researchers, and took the time to teach me the collection technique and process.
Now, by 9:30 am we were back at our makeshift laboratory / Fowler’s Bay town hall. We then set up some sorting stations, and using the samples taken from last night, I learnt how to sort through a sample of sand to find any animals surviving in the soft sand habitat. The little critters are so small to catch, you need a lot of patience to do this every day, but as I found out 3 hours later, there was something soothing and relaxing about this process once you get the hang of it!
As you will see in the attached picture, once we got our samples we observed them under the microscopes (and what you’re seeing in the picture is a species of sea spider we found!). I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and got to learn about some of the skills and knowledge required to be a Marine Biologist - something I can’t wait to share with my class back at school (If any of you are reading this.. I told you knowing how to use a microscope properly is essential).
As what normally happens, timing was perfect today, and as I completed analyzing beach samples I jumped on the opportunity to go out and learn how to set two types of small animal traps, funnel traps and pitfall traps. There was a lot of digging and planning involved, but I’ll have to let you know tomorrow whether we have anything or not.
Overall, day 2 has been very settling, getting to talk and discuss things with a range of scientists, whilst learning about their life and practices, opens your mind to a multitude of educational strategies and ideas. I can’t wait to see what’s in those traps tomorrow and what new things I’ll learn.