My experience for this summer is volunteering as a research assistant at the FSU Coastal and Marine Lab about an hour drive from campus! My first day at the lab was Monday, May 15th. I arrived at 8am and worked until 1pm. I was very nervous on the drive over on Monday but after speaking with the full-time staff, volunteer, PhD students and the Doctors working at the lab, I felt at ease. I spent most of my time on Monday with the lead research technician at the lab. He gave me a very informative tour and I learned a lot about the different projects available to me and research goals of ABSI and FSU. I will continue to work with the head technician as I begin to explore the various departments and projects throughout the 6 weeks I will spend volunteering at the lab. If there is a specific project that I resonate with, I can be assign to work within that department and with the doctor that is spear heading that research. It was really great to learn about the opportunities available for my summer experience but also about opportunities for the future.
Following the tour, I assisted the lead technician and then began making my own subtidal spat traps. These traps are made of PVC pipes and oysters, where are then deployed in sets of 3 across the Bay Area. These traps help us understand when and where oysters are spawning and settling. I also recorded data on intertidal samples of oyster shells and flesh from the Alligator Harbor area. This data collection consisted of measuring, weighing, documenting and disposing of both the shell of the oyster and the oysters flesh. These samples connect to the five intertidal reef sites and are collected monthly.
Overall, I had a really great first experience and I’m very excited to return for my second volunteer shift on Friday. Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take any pictures of myself, but I do have a photo of the map of the various sites and reefs along the bay that the lab utilizes and the overall initiative or goal of the lab!