Friday, May 27, 2016

Blog #3

   Definitely missing all the yummy Mexican food! As well as being outside everyday! Started to see and feel the differences between the U.S. and Mexico instantly after getting home. The really cold air conditioning, longer showers, and not having to get mad at myself when I "accidentally" flush the toilet paper. I learned I wouldn't actually want study the ocean, but I definitely have a new found respect for marine biology, and the ocean in general. I use to be a bit afraid of the ocean, but after this trip I can confidently say I would visit it again and swim in it again!
 


 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Observations and conclusions

Attempting to accurately describe the state of enlightenment I've entered since this trip would be vastly difficult considering how eye opening it has been for me. It was a trip filled with many first experiences, all of which connecting together to teach me many things about culture, the ocean, and possibly what life holds for me in the future.  The last few days we packed with different experience's from contributing to a census of various bird species in the estuary,  to kayaking in that same area and observing the tiny crabs scattered within the muddy edge. After that we all went up to the restaurant on the farm and tried different cuisines using fish/oysters/stingrays from the farm. This was quite interesting and with some convincing I begrudgingly tried a raw oyster,  that turned out to be surprisingly good. After that we went back to CEDO to take our exam which turned out to be relatively simple (so don't worry about it if you're going to do the program Dr C gives out a study guide and ample time to study!)
Heading back home left me with a very bittersweet sensation; a happiness to return back to life as I knew it and the usual sadness that lingers after a chapter of something has to come to an end. This trip for me was a chance to learn about a topic of study I always had interest in, but never truly had investigated before. When I was a little girl I had always wanted to become a marine biologist, but life seemed to get in the way and that dream faded away with time and was met with a different dream grounded in what was deemed more realistic. Going on this trip allowed me to connect back to my former childhood self, enjoying the things that I love and learning all about a foreign undersea world that seemed so magnificent and wonderful. While like many adventures the trip had its downsides and I had to learn to adapt to the new environment, much like the various organisms we observed in the intertidal have to do in their every day life. I'm truly honored to have been able to be a part of something so fun filled and grounded in education and a solid love for the field of study. I strongly urge anyone reading this wondering whether it is something you want to do, but are not sure of whether it is for you. It is honestly one of the best things I've experienced so far, and I'm so incredibly happy to have been a part of it. From connecting with new people with various different backgrounds, to immersing myself in a culture I didn't know much about led to some eye opening and enlightening experiences. I promise you if you do choose to participate in this program, you will not regret it, you might even learn a thing or two, and head home with a head full of farfetched dreams and a gnarly sunburn.

Raven DeSacia

Pictures!

Sea anemone

Dr. C teaching about intertidal crabs

Brittle Star underwater

Hermit Crab in the muddy inertial of Cholla Bay

Least tern eggs, almost impossible to see they are so well camouflaged

Trona Salt Mines

Sea Lions we interacted with at Bird Island
 
April Pardee

Fiddler Crabs

video
 
Fiddler Crabs
Fiddler crabs are most recognizable because the males have a large claw on one side and a small claw on the other side. The female fiddler crab has two claws that are the same size.
We found a huge abundance of fiddler crabs when we kayaked into an estuary. We learned how they eat, which is by sifting detritus (decaying organic matter) out of dirt and then forming the unused items into a ball and discarding them. Many experts believe that fiddler crabs play an important role in the preservation of wetland because their sifting through the sands aerates the substrate and prevents anaerobic conditions.
 
April Pardee

Kelsey Hunt

Culture shock when getting home is a thing. Putting toilet paper in the toilet, not going up to someone and saying Hola, not needing to order a bottle of water everywhere I go, not needing to speak slow so locals can understand me. It's so different being in another country for a week, and then coming home. Work is difficult, getting back into the normal routine is the most difficult part but it comes more easily as it gets further in the day. My cat missed me, he yelled at me for an hour after I got home and kept staring at me, I don't think he thought I was actually back; it was really funny. Missing being able to text normally throughout the day and not wondering if I have signal. It was one of the best experiences of my life, it opened my eyes to another country's issues, local life, and language, it was a great experience but I am happy to be home. 
 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Some notes on the culture

It is truly amazing how different the U.S. and Mexico are for being such close neighbors. Some noteworthy differences were:
 -prices are often negotiable
-the pipe diameters are smaller in Mexico, so no paper in the toilets!
-You can still get a coca-cola, but other sodas like root beer are nowhere to be found. Instead there are sodas with fresher fruit flavors like apple and grapefruit
-pesos are used instead of U.S. currency, but luckily in the area we were almost everyone accepted U.S. currency
-instead of people begging for money on traffic corners, there were street performers and window washers looking for tips

overall it was a truly enlightening cultural experience. I feel like it is so important to go experience Mexico especially when there seems to be a lot of negativity surrounding it in the media. The people are friendly and helpful even when there is a language barrier to work around. The food was amazing, lots of emphasis on sweet and spicy with alot of traditional influence.
It is hard to summarize and entire culture and my experiences of it, but it was a life-changing experience. I hope to go back someday soon to learn even more about the culture and the biology.

-April Pardee

Terrestrial mammals meet sea mammals at Bird Island

video

Fwd:

While this won't be the last post, it did seem to be a fitting picture to post on our last day. Hopefully everyone had a good time, learned some marine biology, and now has a different/broader perspective on things!

Fwd: Least tern monitoring


Students got to take part in research by participating in a  study of least tern populations and their nests. Can you find the camouflaged eggs near Raven?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Nina's last blog

The Fin Whale is the second largest animal in the world, after the blue whale. It is a Baleen whale that grows up to 74 tonnes. It is very fast and elegant. Due to hunting it is now a protected species.

CEDO is represented by the fun whale skeleton that washed upon the beach. It is a symbol that stands in front of CEDO. Tomorrow we leave but I'm leaving knowing that I learned a lot.

Nina's Second blog

Yesterday we went to the mud flats at Cholla Bay. We went out during the low tide. This left an expanse of maybe 1/3 mile of muddy sand between the shoreline and the water. Initially I didn't see much and was confused about what I was looking for but after the class looked closer we saw some really interesting organisms!

We saw little crabs and snails, and most exciting of all was the octopi! The first octopus was found by Virginia; it was tiny! We learned that the octopi like to hide in shells and clam shells. The second octopus was holding a clam shell together with the suckers on its tentacle. When we opened the shell we saw the octopus and the eggs it had. They were hatching! That was really something to see!
A Sun Star from the rocky tide pools. It's a keystone predator in the tide pools. A cool fact about sea stars is they can regenerate themselves if the loose an arm or even half their body! The rocky tide pools were by far the hardest to maneuver through due to the slime covering the rocks. Not to mention the hardest to find invertebrates in, because you first had to move heavy rocks in order to see anything. It was pretty interesting to see how many things could actually hide underneath the rocks

Last thoughts -BB

Hey marine life lovers,

This trip has been an experience that I will remember for ever. I love learning about the sea and all of its creatures. I was able to swim with marine mammals such at sea lions and other Marin life. I enjoy experiencing new things such as eating oysters and learning to kayak in estuaries ( when fresh water meets salt water). My all time favorite event was when we got to swim with the sea lions. It was absolutely amazing and I wish I could do it every day. Thank you Dr.C and Glenn for helping me learning a lot about the ocean and understand the ways of a new culture.

-Bryanna Busse

The Last Day of My Trip

Well, today is it! The last day of my trip to Puerto Penasco!


Okay, well, that was actually a lie. It's not truly my last day yet; that's tomorrow. But we're simply leaving tomorrow, so I don't think that really counts.

Tonight, we had a phenomenal authentic Mexican meal. There were beans, fries, and beef stew, along with some sugary drink supposedly made from a flower.

...The beans were really good. The beef stew had peppers and tomatoes in it; it wasn't as good as a result.

There's talk of us watching a movie, preferably Finding Nemo, as a fitting send-off to our trip. Dunno if we can get it to stream with the shabby wifi, though.

Overall, this was a really fun trip! I'm glad I came.

Blog Post #1: Sea Legs!

This is a picture from the boat trip to Bird Island. It was a lot of fun, but required a lot of sunscreen. The sea lions were pretty cool and very adgile. They would swim right up and almost run into you and then turn on a dime, as well as twirl and play in the water. I got to see the size and shape differences between the male and female sea lions. Overall it was my favorite day from the entire trip!

Octopus and kayaking!

Hi Guys!

I wanted to talk about one of the most interesting activities that was done. On this activity we ha d gone to the muddy part of town on Cholla Bay where I saw my first momma octopus. I had initially found a baby octopi but someone else managed to actually find two or three momma octopus's. They were incredibly well hidden inside big molluscs shells. It was very fun and very surprising how cute the baby octopi were. Even at birth they can change colors to camouflage themselves and escape. Very smart animals.

Today I had my first experience kayaking and as you can guess.... I fell off. I was ready to quit but Dr. C did not let me. And because he did not let me quit, I did much better and did not fall off again. It was very fun but also very hard on the muscles, especially if you do not work out, like me. Here is a pictur e of momma octupus and her babies. Virginia Martinez


Today I Hit My Left Eye With A Headphone 2.5mm Connector

Today I Hit My Left Eye With A Headphone 2.5mm Connector


That's not really relevant to this blog. I just thought it'd be a good attention grabber. Did it work?


Anyway, today I went kayaking. We went out for about two hours.

A good halfway through, we stopped at a shore with a lot of fiddler crabs on it.

We picked them up, and they didn't attempt to pinch us! Apparently, fiddler crabs don't actually try and pinch often, as their claws are for show (mating) not for actual pinching. They were around half an inch long. Some were, at most, an inch long. They were adorable!

We then kayaked back to the start, and I ordered a Coca-Cola using my Spanish! Two years of language class put to good use, baby! I got a soda!

The restaurant owners had a cat. I tried to pet it, and he walked away.
They also had a dog. I tried to pet him.
He, too, walked away from me. The jerk!

We then tried oysters. I slurped one up, only to realize it was raw. Oops?
It actually tasted pretty decent. Not good, but decent.

I tried a few more. Just to confirm they truly were decent, you see! N-not that they were good or anything.
They were totally terrible!

...Okay, fine. They were actually pretty good.

After the raw oysters, we tried some pickled fish tacos. Those were good, but the real treat was the stingray tacos. Those were phenomenal.

Then I went back over to the cat and tried to pet it again. It walked away once more.

Oh well.

Blog #2

Greetings from south of the border amigos! Today we are recovering from yesterday's trip to Isla San Jorge. The boat ride took about 3 hours but was worth it. On that trip we learned about some of the mammal marine life, the sea lion. We learned how to tell the difference between male and female sea lions and also their warning signs for aggressive behavior as we would be swimming with them in the water around the islands.

Jon

Kelsey Hunt

Reflecting on yesterday it was one of the best experiences of my life, being able to swim with wild sea lions was amazing. They would get so close to my face and then swim away really fast, only a few were almost touching me but it was so cool to be able to see our curiosity reflected in them as well. The boat ride was a ton of fun, 12 hours on a boat was a little much for me, along with the Dramamine making me sleep the last 4 hours of it, me April and Nina were tanning on the bow of the boat at the beginning. I got tan and slightly burned. Good time overall and a great experience.

Blog Post 3

Got to count bird eggs today. Went to a closed off beach where Plovers, Les Tern, and Oyster catchers go to lay their eggs. You would think they would lay their eggs in a high location to in a high location for protection against predators, but it is actually the exact opposite. They actually make a little nest in/on the beach sand, with very minimal to no decoration at all; for the most part completely concealing the eggs in the natural environment. To make it even harder, the eggs them self are a blackish white pigment, helping them blend in as well. It was our job to cautiously walk up and down the beach while meticulously watching for eggs in 5 groups of 3-4. The birds would even try to divert are attention when we got close to their eggs, by either dive-bombing near us or even pretending to nest in a false location. Overall, we managed to find up to 50-60 eggs as a team.


Jesse, Esqueda 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Bird Island!

A few pics from our Bird Island excursion today.  I'm sure the students will be commenting more in the coming days.








We have seen so much! Today is day five of the Puerto peƱasco study abroad trip!

In front of CEDO we saw a lot of critters in the tide pools at low tide. These include brittle stars, star fish, sun stars, snails, hermit crabs and crabs, fish, and more.

My favorite critters are the brittle stars. I enjoy the way they move; stars use hundreds of tube feet on the bottoms of their arms to move and catch food. Sun stars and star fish move the same way. They have five teeth on the center of their five arms (brittle stars).

Nina

These are pictures of the tube feet on star fish, sun stars, and a mixed box.




Marine Mammals and the Complexity of Life in the Aquatic

Much can be said about the complexity of life beneath the surface of the sea,  the constant battle between small organism and large, all interconnected and reliant on one another much to their ignorance. While sailing into what appeared to be the open sea, I couldn't help but find myself overwhelmed with deep thought on the vast ecosystem teeming below my very feet. Starting with the large mammals we observed on the island to the tiny microorganisms bobbing through the water with no brain or any type of complex system within them.This kind of complex thought really helps to put things into perspective. I found myself feeling incredibly small in the vastness of the unknown beneath the water's edge.  Most of my life I never really had to think about my place in the food chain/circle of life; however, in this kind of environment it becomes important to determine one's place in this instance or else you can find yourself at the very bottom.

When arriving at bird island and looking over the edge of the boat, in the distance tiny little black spots would pop up from the water's edge for a quick glance at the boat we were drifting on.A sneak peek of the overall curious nature of these beautiful animals.When we finally started getting into the cold water, the sea lions cautious at first slowly moved their way towards us. Their behavior was something I couldn't have predicted, I was told they would be playful, but was delightfully surprised to see the full extent of that meaning. At first I found myself a bit frightened by this creature with large canines and sharp whiskers. It seemed so foreign to me since I had never approached an animal of that nature in it's natural environment before. However, as time ticked by I began to form a relationship with the sea lions. As I became bolder I began testing the reactions of the sea lions to different types of movement. The common playful behavior I observed from them was their shooting forward towards me, face forward with their mouth open as if they were going to bite me, but turning at the last second and swimming around me in a circle. This I tried to turn into a fun game with the sea lions by turning with them at the last second and swimming/following in the direction that they were swimming and keeping my face pointed towards them. This they seemed to find amusing, and would continue to circle me until I would have to stop because I would start to become dizzy. The sea lions at one point began involving the fish in their playful acts. While swimming a tiny school of fish began being corralled by all of the sea lions, they swam in what appeared to be in a circular pattern as if they were trying to corral them into the right place. Whether this was simply their own way of playing or if I was witnessing them hunt I'm not to sure. But it was incredibly intriguing to see. It was also fun to watch the sea lions involve objects in their playful antics. At one point a sea lion picked up what appeared to be coral or seaweed and exchange it between multiple sea lions. This is definitely an indicator of their overall intelligence and was incredibly fascinating to see.

What I found interesting is that as time continued to tick by and I remained in the water, they seemed to become more comfortable with my presence. They began to all group together around me, some flipping upside down with their tail fins breaching the surface of the water, others floated beside me watching me and observing my actions with curiosity. It is very rare to see an animal up close and have it be as equally curious about you as you are about it. As I've interacted with various different species in different environments i've found that most animals have become desensitized to my presence, behaving in a disinterested manner; however today the sea lions reminded me of the wonder of discovering someone/something new. It became almost surprising how comfortable I soon became with these animals, thought constantly reminding myself of their danger I remembered to keep my distance from the shore knowing full well that the adult sea lions were incredibly territorial and dangerous. The adult sea lions had several different warning signs they would use to indicate that you were swimming a bit to close to their nesting area.

As I discovered how difficult it was to tear myself away from my new friends it made me reconsider the life path I have chosen for myself. I cant accurately describe the happiness I felt interacting with the animals and watching their playful behavior; as well as the overall excitement teeming on the boat with the instructors eager to explore the islands edge. I imagined myself in that position and with further reconsideration I might look into going into the marine biology field.

Blog Post 2

Swam with sea lions today, was an amazing experience. The pups were full of energy and loved playing. They charged us with stretched out mouths, as if pretending to attack us, then at the last second swiftly changed course. It was terrifying, but at the same time exhilarating and adorable. As much as we wanted to we couldn't pet them or we would be at risk of being charged by the pups mother, who was never far from the pups, constantly keeping an eye out. The males stayed close to the nest (rocky shore), warning anyone who ventured too close; apparently they give two warnings before attacking. First they made a pass blowing bubbles and if for some reason you didn't get the message, they would follow that up with a slight brush. Finally, if none of that worked they would either ram you or bite you with their ridiculously large K-9s.


Jesse, Esqueda  

Blog Post 1

Went exploring this morning and got to see the different zones of the intertidal. First creature I stumbled upon was a sea star of the Echinoderm family. Cool thing about them, is how they invert their digestive system and slowly break down whatever nutrients they need. We also found a couple crabs of the Arthropoda family, which did not seem to take kindly to us. Very agitated and defensive. We were able to distinguish between the male and female by the width of their underlying tails'. Overall it was a pretty amazing morning, as we saw lots of creatures from different phylum, however we did not find a octopus, so I will be keeping an eye out.


Jesse, Esqueda

Boat trip!

Hey guys! We're just coming back from Isla San Jorge or Bird Mountain as it's also commonly called because many of the birds poop on it making it all white! Eeew! Today I was able to have my very first dive, where I was able to see the sea lions in their most natural habitat. The young sea lions were very curious and got very close and personal. Will upload pictures very soon!

Virginia Martinez

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Making memories -BB

Hey Marine lovers, 

This trip is extremely fun, I am meeting some really great people and forming some awesome relationships. Just like with some organism they have interactions with different species and I  am forming relationship know as mutualism with some of my class mate. Early this morning the class went out to explore the mud flats where we all discovered octopus and other organisms living in the sediment. 
-BB



Kelsey Hunt

From the beginning of this trip it was hard to tell exactly what it would be like. Most of the time it's been a blast, the only trouble has really been the mosquitos and waking up on time but what's new. The culture shock is real, never before have people blatantly walked up to my car, washed my windows without listening to me say no and make me pay them, never before have I seen so many street vendors willing to barter for a lower price and all have the same exact products. Never before have I been so out of my comfort zone; but everyone on this trip has made it completely worth it. The scenic areas itself are beautiful, sitting on the beach itself is great and being with all these different people is refreshing. Here's hoping for more trips with my new lady friends.

From big to small critters in Cholla Bay


We saw lots of critters in and on the sandy today in Cholla Bay.   A hammerhead head and a baby octopus.  Can you find it on the shell?


Sandy tide pooling in Cholla Bay

Sandy tide pooling in Cholla Bay this morning.  Found some octopi (cool!) living in mollusc shells.  When you try to open the shell, the octopus hangs on trying to keep it closed.  Even more cool: eggs and babies inside!!!