National Geographic and Biscayne National Park sponsored a 24-hour species count in the park in April, 2010. Over 2000 people participated in this "citizen-scientist" project, including 1200 students. Relive BioBlitz through their eyes.
- Credit / Author:
- NPS Video by Jennifer Brown
- Date created:
We have six scientists aboard.
We have Diego Lirman.
Dr. Lirman, right?
He is professor at University of Miami.
He is the lead scientist today.
So, we will do a little briefing before we get out on the water.
We will go over the species id’s.
We have somebody in charge of fish.
We have somebody in charge of stony corals.
And then we have two or three other folks in charge of miscellaneous.
The goal of this exercise is to come back to the dock with a long list of species that we saw at this one site.
We are going to marker three reef which is a small patch reef.
It is one of the few patch reefs within the park that still has a surviving, living stand of Elkhorn corals.
One, two, there you go. OK, perfect.
Now, hold your mask and jump in!
You know, what is the most abundant organism that we saw today out on the reef?
Algae. It is everywhere.
Even in reefs that have a lot of parrotfish and other grazers.
Algae is the dominant organism on the bottom.
I love that they gave us the opportunity to do this.
Like, I did not even know there was anything like this out there.
I am Cameron Stouffer.
I am in 9th grade, kind of.
I go to South Dade Senior High, the Buccaneers.
My name is Misty Glisson.
I go to South Dade and I am in 11th grade.
Yeah, now I really think that I want to be a marine biologist.
And, before this what did you want to be?
Before, I was really iffy.
I had no idea what I wanted to be.
But, like, the office-type job is not for me.
What was it about this that made you want to be a marine biologist?
I love, like, seeing nature.
The beauty of nature.
It really interests me.
I am going to take a marine biology class next year, now.
And, hopefully, we will get to do the same stuff that I just did today.
What is this fish called again?
That is an Ocean triggerfish.
It is an Ocean triggerfish.
Yeah, I love this picture.
He definitely had a personality.
What is next to him?
Um, it is a little bucket floating in the water.
He loved that bucket.
He used it as protection.
And, like, we took it away from him and he swam and followed it.
It was so cute.
When I was in middle school, I discovered butterflies.
And, I am doing it as a career.
And, right now, I am down here trying to show you all butterflies in the wild.
Now, we have not seen an offal lot today.
And, I am not promising that we will, but…
We are going to go on over here and see if we can not find a butterfly.
Oh, there is a swallowtail!
Right up there on the edge.
There is one right here, an orange one.
It was right on top of you!
Close it, you have to put it over it!
You got to dump it over it.
I got it!
It was mine.
I was like, ‘Oh, look it there’.
You will get the next one.
They are going to die, right?
You guys having fun today?
Yes we are, lots and lots of fun.
When he goes up, then you can make the switch.
I think he is stuck.
What you got to do…
His foot is stuck.
There, now switch the cap on it.
There you go, you all are great with that!
Wait, wait, wait…oh, good job.
Lets have a look at it, wait a minute, let me have a look.
Lets see what you got here.
This is one of the little Paper wasps that they have here.
One of the Polistes species.
That is a wasp?
It is a female and she will sting.
Another thing about dragonflies here guys:
The head can spin around and then the eyes meet at the top of the head.
So that the whole head looks like an eye.
That is so cool.
Here, go ahead and hold it.
That is it.
Now, when you want to let it go, just toss it in the air.
Wait, wait, wait!
OK, lets move on.
Biologist: Now, this bird is banded.
So, they lay their bare skin against the eggs?
Yeah, that is where she warms the eggs.
She presses that bare skin to the eggs.
You see the bird?
White-eyed vireos, a very nice name for it.
Alright, honey, honest, I am going to let you go back to your nest really soon.
Yeah, there are not as many places for them to stop during their travels and find somewhere like this park to find fruit and insects to eat.
And, you know, somewhere to rest.
So, having natural places left is very important.
And more and moreso for these little birds and other migratory birds.
So, they are pretty little things.
I am going to let her go across down this way, ok.
Here you go, go back to it.
CHICK chuh bree-ear bree-ear CHICK…
Look, he went right back to singing!
Look at him up there!
CHICK chuh bree-ear bree-ear CHICK!!
Well, what we have is a Petrochirus bahamensis.
He is a Hermit crab that was found on the north side of Boca Chita Key.
It is absolutely beautiful.
The things I looked for were the difference in size of his front main claws there.
As well as the length of his antennae versus the length of his eye stalks.
And I also looked at the hairs on his smaller legs.
All of the kids that have come out here, you know.
They all are very, very curious.
You know, they want to reach in there and touch things.
And then you get to explain…
OK, this you can touch, this you should not touch, do not squeeze that, do not pinch this.
No, no, no, do not even bother with that one, just leave him alone, he is grumpy.
So, it has been nice.
Experiences that I have had that have been similar to this kind of thing have had a great impact on my life.
And, on the lives of the other students that are in our program.
Everyone knows that they wanted to be part of marine science…
But, everybody’s focus field seems to come from some sort of past experience.
You know, everybody!
Almost every person I have talked to can pinpoint that to the very moment that they decided, ‘OK, this is something that truly interests me that I actually want to proceed on with’.
Well, I am originally from Atlanta.
But, I am now from Jacksonville University and I am one of the students in their marine science program.
You can put everything in the bucket.
You found one?
That is a sponge.
It is alive?
You can not really tell.
But, yeah, they are alive.
Sponges are at the bottom of life, of multicellular life, actually.
I found like a clam.
It is closed.
And I found this coral.
Should I put it in the water?
Can I put this in there too?
Look at the crab.
Look at this crab, it is, like, eating this…
We have some folks here working on snails.
And, back over there, they are working on crabs.
Right now, I am focusing on the sea cucumber.
You can see that we are very, very early into the phase of things.
So, this is one of the sites.
And, there is another site, right there.
So, just two species per site, a total of four species.
Hopefully, we will end up having in excess of 20 or so by the time we are finished with it.
Sea cucumbers are related to sea urchins and sea stars and things called sea lilies.
And, they are generally referred to as spiny skinned organisms.
Some species, apparently not this one, can do something called eviscerate.
And, that is where they expel part of their digestive system and reproductive system as kind of a anti-predator response.
So it is like, blaagghhh!
You know, then the predator lets it go because it is so gross.
And, then they regenerate those later.
But, luckily, all these do is squirt water.
You can even see as we are looking at it right here, it is twisting its body.
My name is Daniel A. McCarthy.
I am Assistant Professor of Biogeomarine Science at Jacksonville University.
The joint in the muscles are all inside the head.
So, when they die, that is why we do not need to do anything to preserve them because they are already a hard shell.
Hard on the outside.
Yeah, but it is a difficult thing when they are growing.
An insect or a caterpillar or a fly or a beetle.
How do they grow if they have this hard shell?
So, they have to break it and come out.
So, did you figure out the name?
Not yet. I know the family…I know the family!
I want to take another look at it.
Yeah, of course, by all means, go for it man.
That is so creepy!
I was looking for a fish, actually, so I was in the shore and then, like…
Yes, that is a polychaete…say it!
Is there going to be like a label on the thing?
Yeah, it is one of these guys.
That is the family name.
So, the group name is polychaete.
All of these are bristleworms.
It is segmented and it has bristle spines, yeah, worms.
Did you find anything else today?
Ummmm, some mosquitos…a lot.
I think that they are both the same thing, so…
They will probably only want one of them.
Yeah, so we are just going to release these hermit crabs.
These are land hermit crabs.
With hermit crabs, they take the shell of whatever they find lying around.
So, as they grow, they change shells.
And, so I guess he found, what looks like some sort of bottlecap.
And decided that it would make a good home for him.