What a blast the last two days have been with these amazing kids as we learned about patch reef fish communities together. Thank you to each student, my assistant Hannah, and FRIENDS for such a successful course.
On our first day, we learned about the ecological role of coastal ecosystems and specifically the importance of patch reefs as refugia for many important juvenile reef fish. We then went over patch reef fish identification as well as fish dissections to review fish anatomy. Our day was complete with over 10 fish surveys on a patch reef off of Eastern Shores.
Weather was not on our side the second day, but we managed to do three experiments investigating the aggressive behaviour of the Beaugregory damselfish by manipulating its refuge availability. Luckily, with an hour left to spare, the stormy weather subsided and we were able to snorkel at Mermaid’s reef where we collected data to investigate the daily energy budget of reef fish! One student observed a juvenile Stoplight parrotfish and said it “ate and pooped” the entire time!