Monday, September 3, 2012

The Preparations Continue!

Preparations continue for the spawning of Montastrea faveolata at the Keys Marine Laboratory!

With the dates of spawning corals rapidly approaching, Team BURR has been hard at work preparing KML for coral larvae as well as a herd of eager volunteers.

While Anke and Rachel kept busy around KML, Shelby made a trip back to Buffalo to do 96 extractions and 170 PCRs in about 48 hours time....then hopped back on a flight right back to help with spawning prep.....with energy! Way to go Shelby!

Rachel loves power tools

Hurricane Issac created a bit of a set-back for our preparations, but luckily Anke, Shelby and Rachel were able to get just quite a lot of work done in time for Mac, Pam and DJ's arrival on Saturday evening.

Preparations included drilling holes in kreisels (much to Rachel's delight), labeling 180 tiles, filtering gallons of sea water, and cleaning up from the Thermal Tolerance Experiment, making multiple trips to Home Depot for supplies, and setting up/washing supplies down....just to name a few of the tasks around KML.

Chris Page to the rescue! also to note, the army of labeled tiles
Traveling up from Mote Marine Lab Wednesday evening was Chris Page, former student of Howard Lasker's (at the University of Buffalo), and a seasoned veteran of coral spawning as well as kreisel building. Without Noel and his ability to set up kreisels in record speed (some might even argue1-2 days is all he needs, but this is debatable), Anke and Rachel bargained with Chris to help start the kreisel set-up in return for "Fancy Dinner Wednesday" ala Anke. His help was greatly appreciated, and despite being eaten alive by sand flies out in the wet lab until 9pm, 3 kreisels were set up and his knowledge and expertise was passed down to Anke and Rachel to teach future generations of kreisel-builders.

Anke, happily setting up kreisels

Ahoy Anke!

Friday morning was a scheduled boat trip on the Diadon with the one and only Cindy Lewis (much to both Anke and Rachel's delight!). 

The first stop was Tennessee Reef, where Anke and Cindy tagged some lovely colonies of Montastrea faveolata for Bishoy (student from Monica Medina's lab) to collect sperm to get DNA without zooxanthellae. Cindy and Anke also ran some transects to mark the colonies as well. A successful dive well done, or as Anke says, "It was ace!"

Rachel and Cindy all set to dive

Tennessee Reef Spa was the second stop on the boat day, where Cindy and Anke joined Rachel for her first dive in the big blue ocean.

Definitely different than quarry dives back up in Buffalo!
Excited to find an Acropora palmata colony

Anke was a wonderful photographer and captured the events of the dive, including the finding of a beautiful colony of Acropora palmata!

Last stop of the day was collecting 4 garbage bins of sea water for which always promises to be  many hours of filtering later......(much to everyone's delight)

Anke and Shelby working hard with the kreisel set-up!

With Shelby's arrival on Friday night, the 3 worked together to successfully set up one kreisel running with thrice filtered sea water, and 2 others running with fresh water.

Shelby is a master at fixing leaks

The transformation of the wet lab into a coral larvae nursery is finally starting to look official. With spirits high, the evening was celebrated by a trip to the world-famous "Keys Fisheries" for dinner. With all the hard work, it was a much-needed treat!

Days in-counting to spawning corals, the arrival of Mac, Pam, DJ, and all the coral enthusiasts.....with sunsets such as these here at KML, can you think of anywhere else better to be than the beautiful FL Keys?!

Sunset at the Keys Marine Lab

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