|Photo credit: Charlie Veron|
To measure the growth and survival, I examine tiles that contain our coral spats under a microscope in the lab. I check maps we made of all of the spat and count which are still alive and which have died. A healthy spat looks like the top image, where there is tissue evident. However, not all of our spat are doing so well (the water is very warm right now!), so some no longer have tissue and instead you can only see their skeleton as seen in the lower image.
|Live Porites astreoides spat|
|Porites astreoides skeleton|
Using a microscope camera, I take photos of the live spat so that I can calculate the surface area of each one with a computer program. From my size data, I calculate growth rates over time to compare growth rates of spat that came from shallow corals to those that came from mesophotic corals.
|Photo credit: Kelvin Santana Rodriguez|
It has only been a couple weeks, but jumping right into research at BIOS (I already have my first few data points) with an amazing group of people has been really great. We have bonded at meal times, exploring Bermuda together, and over our shared love of ocean sciences!