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Bermuda Field Course 2012 :: Daily Report

Day 04 | Sunday, March 11, 2012
Analysis of Sargasso Sea zooplankton

Today was the first day that most of us have experienced how to design and develop  an ecological experiment completely on our own. This procedure is very different from being told how to accomplish a study in typical lab courses on campus! This day was full of learning and teamwork.
            The students from UNC Wilmington and Southampton were split into two groups of 19. We were presented with several offshore and inshore plankton samples and had to design our own data collection as a group, agreeing on a common null hypothesis to test. The discussion with such a large group of scientists was quite challenging with all compromising on their ideas. It started out with 19 separate opinions, but as we listened to each other and with each of our individual strengths, things went much more smoothly and cohesively.
            Each of the groups looked at zooplankton from different areas of ocean around Bermuda and especially at BATS (Bermuda Atlantic Time-Series), which is the BIOS open ocean long term research station about 60 miles south of Bermuda. It was fascinating that such a high species richness and diversity could be seen in each sample! We all saw specimens such as ostracods, polychaetes, decapods, foraminiferia, copepods, gastropods, and even fish eggs! It was so interesting to see these zooplankton from such a diverse place in the world. Not only were we able to see specimens under a microscope that we have never seen, we were able to start practicing the skill of working as a team to help us in our experimental endeavors the rest of the week.
            Overall, I think today was a wonderful day. We all were able to learn something new and get the complete experience of learning to create our own experiment, discover data, run statistical analysis, and ultimately work together as a team. I can't wait to see what else Bermuda has in store for us!

- Allison Bradley

Bermuda Atlantic zooplankton sample

zooplankton 02
Bermuda Atlantic zooplankton sample

looking at zooplankton samples
Looking at zooplankton samples

looking at zooplankton
Looking at zooplankton

statistics session for zooplankton
Statistics session for zooplankton

working up zooplankton data
Working up zooplankton data

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