Day 5 and 6: Round ‘em up

This is the fifth in a series of guest posts from Aquarium volunteer Sarah M. Winchester. She participated in the most recent Bahamas Collecting Trip. As our expedition leaders are gearing up for next Spring's expedition, Sarah chronicles her experience with the Aquarium in Bimini.

By day five our list of fish began to dwindle leaving some particular species in which to target. 

First up was the copper sweeper round up.  I do not have any photos of this, as it was quite an event involving the whole team. Acting as a human SCUBA screen Nichole, Don and myself blocked a cave exit in order to keep the copper sweepers contained, as Captain Lou and Barbara scooped in with their nets. The rest of the team transferred the fish underwater to two huge bags, until we had collected 30 copper sweepers. 30 minutes later we were done. Go team!

Next up was the sponge round up. Now these animals (yes a sponge is actually an animal, the part we think of as "sponge" is their skeleton) may not be particularly challenging to collect, but distinguishing which species is which was quite difficult. 

Thank goodness we had invertebrate expert Kate Hudec on the scene. (Queue CSI Miami music.) 

 The sponge colors were gorgeous and vibrant.

Day six began with some cushion stars. A team of six of us donned our snorkel gear, headed to a grassy sandbar and rounded up some beautiful specimens.

With small mouth grunts and tomtates still on our list we headed to another cavernous spot to gather some grunts. 

Another successful day complete, although perhaps breathing all that compressed air was starting to get to us.

All hail Caesar/Dave

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