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BSC4205: Student Blogs - Monica Castillo

Few days back from my FIRST research cruise! The one thing all my peers have said time and time again…. Something ALWAYS goes wrong during field work. This was the case, as mother nature did not want to cooperate with us. Even so, we were able to deploy a tucker trawl at 500m and plankton net at the surface. The remaining days we were either anchored nearby Key West or docked in Bight Marina. We took a dingy to a nearby island and collected many crustaceans and other organisms to later be identified in the lab. That was an experience to say the least! Sometimes took hours to decipher the dichotomous key, but as a team we were all able to get through it and narrow down the taxon groups to the species name. I happened to have been chosen for the last spot on the cruise and could not feel more happy or excited to have the chance to conduct a study at sea during my undergraduate career. I really wanted to soak up the entire experience from seeing if I could get over my usual sea sickness (which I did!) to deploying the sampling gear and bonding with fellow students and recent graduates with some delicious food all around. Although I have written and presented numerous projects in my other marine biology classes, this experience helped me better understand the ins and outs of planning a research cruise route. One of my favorite finds was an amphipod , phronima, which uses a salp barrel to live in. Although this is my first research cruise, it will not be my last. I have plans for further graduate studies and this class really helped me gain the confidence I will need in future field work. Thank you Dr. BG and Dr. De’Leo, and to all the girls that joined in our adventure… it was one for the books! I love doing science!! J

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