Day 5 started out at Archbold Research Center and we all split up into teams to tackle some projects for the morning. Stephanie and Dr. Lazar began opening some of the cores that we have collected over the last few days.
Dr. Lazar (right) and Stephanie (left) examine a core they have just opened.
This process is extremely time consuming and meticulous. Each core is cut in half and then each layer (sand, marsh, peat, or whatever else may be found) is documented in a core log chart and photographed. The first characteristic described is the color, using a Munsell chart. This chart allows them to designate the chroma and value of the colors. Other important details to note include any changes in sediment type, the amount of shells and organic material, and grain size. This information will then be used to create a core log that will show the layers present at the site. The hope of the research is to find any evidence of hurricane deposits. Stephanie received a Southeastern GSA undergraduate research grant, and this money will be used for carbon dating part of the core. This date could then help to pinpoint the hurricane frequency of the past that we could then compare to the present.
Sawyer and Emily set out with a handheld GPS to improve one of the existing maps of the research center. In the end some slight modifications were made to one of the trails and a stream.
Some photos from around the center. A gigantic mossy tree, those roots are about 3 feet tall! A blue snail (Drymaeus laticinctus) a relatively rare tropical air-breathing land snail endemic (native) to Dominica.
Dr. Moysey and Sawyer also installed a water level logger on the property to measure stream flow and storm events. We are hoping this can grow into a citizen science project for the research center.
Since it was Dr. Moysey’s last day we went into town for dinner. Half of our group was brave enough to try the local lionfish. The lionfish has venomous spines so it is not a traditional delicacy. However, it is an invasive species, meaning that it comes into a habitat and multiplies quickly, pushing other organisms out and harming the ecosystem. It’s become such a problem around the world that chefs have come up with creative ways to prepare them so they are edible in order to keep the population under control.
Have a great evening from our crazy awesome team!
From left to right: Katrina, Dr.Moysey, Emily, Dr.Lazar.