Sleeping with the Fishes

Sleeping with the Fishes

Sleeping with the fishes

Nurse Shark. Photo cred: Nicholas C. Durgadeen

In the image above is just one of the many fascinating sea animals you’ll see at the Buck Island reef. The nurse shark in the image appears to be resting, while a team of scuba divers are treating corals suffering from Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD). I was free diving while treating the corals in this location. None of the corals I was treating at the time was for my project, however, I was using that time to learn the routes to the corals that I will need to treat with an antibacterial known as Amoxicillin. 

Field site

Below is Buck Island’s exact location on a map, most of my work will be towards the west end of the island in the shallower reefs. In addition to the map I have also attached a video of the surface of one of my four sites, Underwater Trail.  The entire island is a national monument. It spans over  176 acers of uninhabited land. Though it is uninhabited, you’ll often find people on the beaches, snorkeling, or hiking. Buck island is a popular spot for tourist and locals alike. And with crystal clears waters, the beautiful sun and cool ocean breeze I can see why. In addition to being a place for recreational activity, a lot of research is being conducted on the land and in the surrounding waters. From lizard population analysis to sea turtle surveys and even shark tagging!

what do i do?

So upon arrival at my site, the first thing I do is assist the boat captain with anything that he/she may need. That can be attaching the boat to the mooring, or keeping an eye out of snorkelers and sea turtles. Once at the site and the boat is secured, I gather my equipment which consist of six or seven items including my fins and mask, my wetsuit, five to six syringes with amoxicillin paste in a bag, a T-stick, an Tg-6 Olympus camera, and a six inch ruler. Once I’m in the water, myself and my buddy diver head straight to the corals associated with my project. There are 10 corals in total, and their tag numbers are 1 – 10. However, for my project, I will be working with 5 of the 10 corals. Once I’ve found my corals, I then begin treating the infected area or lesion with the amoxicillin paste. If you wanna know more about how I treat the corals and the more of the methods, come check out my next blog!

Weekly photo gallery

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