Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Greetings to the Erie 2 Chautauqua Cattaraugus BOCES Board of Education and District Superintendent, Bob Guiffreda, from the 2006 TME participants.
Here we are ready to depart for home from the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences following a week of in-depth field studies.

Here are a few of Helen's best photos... Thanks for the CDs for classroom use! Please remember to bring your photos to the TME Reunion, September 16. Details are in snail mail and should be arriving today....

Welcome home TME Participants! I trust everyone is well and taking those weekly doses of Chloroquine! Here are a few of us just three weeks ago....

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Lovely orchids at Carambola Gardens. Below the group tastes some of the local herbs....
These photos are from the intertidal walk at the western tip of Roatan. To the left we see Mel, Helen, Deanne, & Sandi. Below is a brittle star.
Here are a couple of images from the iguana farm, Friday afternoon.
August 19, 2006

Travel home Day…

Everyone going home today had to have their checked bags at their door by 7:00 and at the bus by 10:00. Garry & Kathy waved good-by to everyone and boarded the Nicolas for the 10:30 dive –very nice. Hope to see everyone at the TME Reunion on September 16. Details to follow.

Thanks everyone for a great trip!

May your remoras be unattached and your corals be spawning,

Garry for the TME Group
More brittle stars on the night...
Here is another unusual photo of coral spawning. These gorgonians have gamete sacks that they are about to release. This happens 8 days after the full moon of August or September.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Here is a rare event! A ruby brittle star spawning.... on the night dive. This is a once a year event!
Here is the octopus from Thursday's night dive just after eating a spiny lobster!
After a fabulous night dive last evening where we saw an octopus feeding on a lobster, spawning ruby brittle starfish, and “string of pearls,” (bioluminescent ostracods that were spawning) we took off for a land day today. Highlights included lush plants and birds at Carambola Gardens, swimming scallops at the Rocky Shore field trip, a stop at the iguana farm (thousands of iguanas), and a shopping excursion to Coxen Hole and West End. Our bus broke down in the middle of crowded streets in Coxen Hole but another bus was nearby, so we were on our way in no time. We were happy to find photos that had been taken by Jennifer, our RIMS coordinator, from her most recent gallery showing at West End. But we are sad to be packing for home. PS Happy Birthday Helen!

Kathy for the TME Group

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Here's Kathy looking for inverts in this Giant Barrel Sponge. Needs rotation....
The "coolest" time of day is lecture time. (Classroom is air conditioned)
Mel with Fiona.
Here are Deanne, Brenda, Kelly, Dana, & Helen at the dolphin swim.
Hi everyone,

Sorry to have missed yesterday’s post but we were unable to access the computer….

Wednesday morning we visited the Mangrove at Man O’ War Cay. Mangroves are like the wetlands to the Great Lakes… the nurseries of the reefs and open waters. We also snorkeled at the back reef and found the patch reefs to be wonderfully healthy. We were able to collect specimens to examine more closely on the boat and different types of algae for an invert “pick” lab after lunch.

The highlight of the critters in the algae was a small reef octopus! Stay tuned for some pictures of him or her…

After the lab we went to Fish Den for our afternoon dive. There were huge Yellowfin and Black Groupers at the mooring. We also saw a Slipper Lobster, a couple of small morays, an Arrow Blenny, and lots of healthy corals.

Dinner was a BBQ on the Key with local island entertainment.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

This morning we went to the south side of the island to a famous dive site called Mary’s Place. It has huge blocks of the reef that have broken away from the fringing reef due to tectonic activity leaving 5 foot wide channels over 80 feet deep. The channel walls are covered with black corals and deep water sea fans.

On the way back to RIMS we had an opportunity to visit Smith Bank, a pristine shallow area that has nearly 100% coral cover! The corals are mostly Staghorn and Finger Coral with some Lettuce Coral as well. This may be the only place in the Caribbean with such a large area of healthy Staghorn Coral!

After lunch we had a sea turtle lecture. Unlike Great Lakes area turtles, sea turtles cannot retract any of their body appendages into their shell. Their feet have become flippers for better propulsion.

The afternoon dive was at Overheat Reef, named for the dive site where the engines on the old dive boats from AKR would overheat! We saw a huge Mithrax crab, spiny lobster, and an unbelievable number of smaller reef fish. Corals are healthy at this site too.

Will try to post some more photos….

Garry for the TME Group

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The group ready for the canopy tour.

Here are Dana, Helen & Kathy in search of inverts...

Wow, what a day! We began with a presentation on Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), then we went to Bailey's Key for a dolphin encounter and snorkel. Of course, HELEN observed mating behavior between two of the dolphins, and DANA verified it. SANDI got nuzzled by a dolphin - melon to melon. After lunch we had a second presentation on dolphin communication. Did you know that dolphins have signature whistles? If you were a dolphin, what would yours sound like? Then we went diving and snorkeling at Fish Den dive site where we saw a hawskbill turtle and two huge whitespotted filefish. Some extreme diehards like GARRY, MEL, and BRENDA are going on a night snorkel after dinner. KATHY will hold the flashlight to guide them back home. DEANNE will go to bed!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Greetings from Roatan -Day three (Monday August 14)

We had lecture #3 last evening on coral ID. Everyone was ready for bed!!!

Today we began with an invert lecture...even made some comparisons to
Great Lakes invertebrates....Yes! We do have freshwater sponges! Of
course...we all knew crayfish are decopods, but Garry taught the group
about a "crab's eye" where crayfish store the calcium until they are ready
to harden their new shell.

Then off to the reef for a wonderful dive with squid, colorful reef fish
and lots of beautiful sponges and coral. So proud of our "new" or "refreshed"
divers...Brenda, Kelly and Deanne...they are doing a great job..and
enjoying the beautiful underwater scenery.

On to the beach for lunch and then to the canopy tour, where we were
on a zipline at least 50' above the ground.... We were troopers...and
we all found it exciting and enjoyable. Even though we love the ocean,
it was great to see the trees and butterflies that add to the beauty of
this land.

Afterwards, we were back on the boat for the second dive....where we
were greeted by a very curious (aggressive) remora, who obviously
could not find a shark or turtle to attach to....

We have taken lots of pictures, but our connection in Honduras is soooo
slow..we are having difficulty loading them...stay tuned...

We are all well and enjoying Roatan!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

SUN. Aug. 13
Greetings from hot, sunny Roatan! We arrived safely on Sat. the 12th, had lunch, a hotel orientation, and were into the ocean for our first snorkel skill check by 5 PM. Mel found a 6” yellow seahorse in the mangrove roots just off shore Anthony’s Key.

After supper of tasty pork and rice or tilapia and polenta, we went to the RIMS lecture classroom for an orientation to Roatan island, geology, and formation of the protected marine area. When we went to bed at 10 PM, our bodies felt like it was midnight, like the time back home in western NY! (Roatan is 2 hours behind our time.)

Sun. AM: We took care of scuba gear rentals before breakfast. After breakfast, there was a Fish ID lecture, a snorkel/dive, lunch, a Coral lecture, and another snorkel/dive. Highlights of ocean time included good fish diversity and bluehead wrasse spawning.

Having some technical difficulty with photos --stay tuned

Friday, August 11, 2006

TME 2006 Participants

Tropical Marine Ecology (TME) has provided summer workshops for teachers since 1987. We have studied coral reef ecosystems at the Hofstra University Marine Laboratory (HUML), the Curaçao Sea Aquarium, and this Year at the Roatan Institute for Marine Science (RIMS). Our workshop participants this year are:

Garry Dole, Science Resources Coordinator at Erie 2 BOCES In Fredonia, NY. Garry oversees an elementary science kit program for 35,000 students in the Western New York area. He is committed to providing an opportunity for teachers to study tropical ecosystems to better understand our “Living Environment.”

Kathy Dole, Elementary Teacher at JT Waugh School, Lake Shore Central, Angola, NY.

Helen Domske, Coastal Education Specialist, New York Sea Grant, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

Dana Gast, Educator, Aquarium of Niagara, Niagara Falls, NY.

Sandi Holden, Substitute Teacher, Eden Central School, Eden, NY and a former School Board Member at Hamburg Central Schools, Hamburg, NY.

Tom Holden, Retired Nuclear Engineer, Western NY Nuclear Service Center, Ashford, NY.

Kelly Monahan, Teacher, West Irondequoit High School, Rochester, NY.

Deanne O’Day, Teacher, Buffalo Seminary, Buffalo, NY. Deanne has been a member of the Science Department since 1973 where she currently teaches both Honors and AP Biology. Deanne attended the University at Buffalo. She received her BA and MS from Canisius College. In addition to teaching, Deanne serves as the Science Club advisor.

Brenda Stevanato, Teacher, East Senior High School, West Seneca Central Schools, West Seneca, NY.

Mel Zimmerman, Professor, Lycoming College, Williamsport, PA. Dr. Mel Zimmerman has been teaching for 26 years and is the Lowry Professor of Biology and the Director of the Lycoming College Clean Water Institute. He also directs the Environmental Science program and teaches courses in Ecology, Aquatic Biology, Invertebrate Zoology, Environmental Science and Tropical Marine Biology, which includes a field trip to a lab in Jamaica. His research and publications deal with stream ecology and restoration, wetland ecology and wastewater biology.

Friday, August 11, 2006 (1 day to travel)

Participants please check all carry-ons to be sure they meet current security requirements. See the latest news at this Buffalo Airport page.

Friday, August 04, 2006

TME Participants... 7 days to travel day...
Just a quick reminder about Chloroquine. If you have decided to take a malaria prevention medication you should take the first dose tomorrow (Saturday, August 5). It should be taken with food and an occasional side effect is an upset stomach. We plan to take ours Saturday evening.... and then again next Saturday in Roatan!
Garry & Kathy

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

July 25, 2006 (18 days to travel)

I came across this interesting web site about Roatan and thought you might like to take a look. There are a lot of links and an orientation map of the island.

I also had a request for some information about NYS Standards and how they might be met by addressing Tropical Marine Ecology concepts in the classroom. The following Cores are for Grades K-4 and reflect the contents of the Tropical Marine Ecology Kit:

Tropical Marine Ecology The Major understandings from the NYS Elementary Science Core Curriculum Grades K-4, Physical Setting
(PS) and Living Environment (LE) which may be addressed with this curricular material.
PS 1.1a Natural cycles and patterns include:..rotation, revolution, length of daylight varies with seasons, weather changing day
to day and through seasons, changing appearance of the Moon through its cycle.
PS 1.1b Humans organize time into units based on nataural motions of the Earth; second, minute, hour, week, month.
PS 2.1a Weather is the condition of the outside air at a particular moment.
PS 2.1b Weather can be described and measured by: temperature, wind speed and direction, form and amount of
precipitation, general sky conditions ( cloudy, sunny, partly cloudy).
PS 2.1c Water is recycled by natural processes on earth: evaporation, condensation, precipitation, runoff, groundwater...
PS 2.1e Extreme natural events...may have positive or negative impacts on living things.
PS 4.1a Energy exists in various forms: heat, electric, sound, chemical, mechanical, light.
LE 1.1a Animals need air, water, and food in order to live and thrive.
LE 1.1b Plants require air, water, nutrients, and light in order to live and thrive.
LE 1.2a Living things grow, take in nutrients, breathe, reproduce, eliminate waste, and die.
LE 2.1a Some traits of living things have been inherited (e.g., color of flowers and number of limbs of animals).
LE 2.1b Some characteristics result from an individual’s interaction with the environment and cannot be inherited by the next
LE 2.2a Plants and animals closely resemble their parents and other individuals in their species.
LE 2.2b Plants and animals can tansfer specific traits to their offspring when they reproduce.
LE 3.1a Each animal has different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction....
LE 3.1b Each plant has different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction.....
LE 3.1c In order to survive in their environment, plants and animals must be adapted to that environment.....
LE 3.2a Individuals within a species may compete with each other for food, mates, space, water, and shelter in their
LE 3.2b All individuals have variations, and because of these variations individuals of a species may have an advantage in
surviving and reproducing.
LE 4.1a Plants and animals have life cycles. These may include beginning of a life, development into an adult,
LE 4.1b Each kind of plant goes through its own stages of growth and development that may include seed, young plant,
mature plant.
LE 4.1c The length of time from beginning of development to death of the plant is called its life span.
LE 4.1d Life cycles of some plants include changes from seed to mature plant.
LE 4.1e Each generation of animals goes through changes in form from young to adult. This completed sequence of called a life cycle.....
LE 4.1f Each kind of animal goes through its own stages of growth and development during its life span.
LE 4.1g The length of time from an animal’s birth to its death is called its life span. Life spans of different animals vary.
LE 4.2a Growth is the process by which plants and animals increase in size.
LE 4.2b Food supplies the energy and materials necessary for growth and repair.
LE 5.1a All living things grow, take in nutrients, breathe, reproduce, and eliminate waste.
LE 5.1b An organism’s external physical features can enable it to carry out life functions in its particular environment.
LE 5.2a Plants respond to changes in their environment.....
LE 5.2b Animals respond to change in their environment......
LE 5.2c Senses can provide essential animals about their environment.
LE 5.2d Some animals, including humans, move from place to place to meet their needs.
LE 5.2e Particular animal characteristics are influenced by changing environmental conditions including.....
LE 5.2f Some animal behaviors are influenced by environmental conditions.......
LE 5.2g The health, growth, and development of organisms are affected by environmental conditions such as.....
LE 6.1a Green plants are producers because they provide the basic food supply for themselves and animals.
LE 6.1b All animals depend on plants. Some animals (predators) eat other animals ( prey).
LE 6.1c Animals that eat plants for food may in turn become food for other animals. This sequence is called a food chain.
LE 6.1d Decomposers are living things that play a vital role in recyclilng nutrients.
LE 6.1e An organism’s pattern of behavior is related to the nature of that organism’s environment.....
LE 6.1f When the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce, and others die or move to new
LE 6.2a Plants manufacture food by utilizing air, water, and energy from the Sun.
LE 6.2b The Sun’s energy is transferred on Earth from plants to animals through the food chain.
LE 6.2c Heat energy from the Sun powers the water cycle (see Physical Science Key Idea 2).
LE 7.1a Humans depend on their natural and constructed environments.
LE 7.1b Over time humans have changed their enviornment by cultivating c rops and raising animals, creating shelter.....
LE 7.1c Humans, as individuals or communities, change environments in ways that can be either helpful or harmful......

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Participant July 19 UpDate:

How the summertime flies by! We leave for Roatan and RIMS in only three weeks from this Saturday! I have been e-mailing Jen at RIMS and the tentative schedule is pretty much the same as the copy you have. Here are a few reminders....

FORMS: If you have not completed the Waiver and Medical Forms please do so and send them to me ASAP. Thanks.

AIRPORT INFO: Plan to be at the airport two hours prior to departure. I plan to be there about 5:30 AM. The airline agent will need to see your passport and you may not be able to use a kiosk for check-in since this is international travel. Please be sure that the checked bag labels have “RTB” as the final destination. Sky Caps may not be able to check your bags to the final destination. Remember that there is a weight limit of 50 pounds for checked bags and 40 pounds for carry-ons. (One checked bag at 55 pounds will cost you extra but two checked bags [say 25 & 30 pounds] are fine!)

BAG YARNS & TAGS: Please remember to put the red, green and yellow yarn on each of your bags. Let me know if you need more. AND be sure to put the green"AKR" tags on all your bags.

CARRY-ON BAG: It’s always a good idea to plan as if your checked bags may take an extra day to arrive. I usually carry snorkeling & Mask and a swimsuit as well as a change of clothes and needed toiletries & prescriptions... You can also carry-on a personal item such as a camera or computer bag.

C-Cards: Certified divers must have your C-card if you plan to dive.

PASSPORTS: A copy of the photo and address page of your passport is a good thing to carry with you in case the original is lost. Be sure to pack it in a different bag than where you carry the original. I’m happy to make any copies for you if you want to stop by the Science Center.

WEATHER: The surface water temperature around Roatan is about 85°F or a little warmer. The daytime high air temperatures are reported around 88°F and nighttime lows 80°F. I think the seaside breezes will keep us pretty comfortable. --Don’t bother with a sweater unless you plan to use it in the airport!

SPENDING MONEY: Things not included in the cost of the trip include shopping and any extracurricular activities you choose to participate in... such as SCUBA with AKR and drinks from the bar....

DAILY WORKSHOP UP-DATES: I will be sending a sample of the daily up-date I hope to send for family and friends from Roatan. It has four small (100K each) photos and I need some feedback about ease in opening the e-mail. If this dosen't work I can try the photos as attachments or upload them to a weblog. Let me know what you think....

The following books are available for loan over the summer and to take along on the trip if you have space and weight capacity. Most of these books are also available at RIMS.

The Peterson Guides by Kaplan give you a good description about each major phyla and each habitat we will visit. Gene Kaplain, biology professor at Hofstra University, directed the Marine Lab (HUML)in Jamaica and wrote these books as a course text for students visiting the lab.
Kaplan, E., Field Guide to Coral Reefs, Caribbean and Florida, 1982, Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, MA. ( Peterson Field Guide #27) (ISBN: 0-395-46939-2)
Kaplan, E., Field Guide to Southeastern and Caribbean Seashores, 1988, Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, MA. ( Peterson Field Guide #36) (ISBN: 0-395-46811-6)

Marty Snyderman is a well know marine life photographer. His book has great photos and has been described as the "who lives where" and "who eats who" guide.
Snyderman, Marty and Clay Wiseman, Marine Life, 1996, Aqua Quest Publications, New York, NY. (ISBN: 1-881652-06-8)

The best available Photo ID books for the Caribbean are the following. They are organized for ease of dentifying things you see in the water and Humann's fish ID termonology has become the standard for field descriptions. All three books have recently come out in new editions.
Humann, Paul, Reef Fish Identification, 1994 (second edition), New World Publications, Inc., Jacksonville, FL. (ISBN: 1-878348-07-8)
Humann, Paul, Reef Creature Identification, 1992, New World Publications, Inc., Jacksonville, FL. (ISBN: 1-878348-01-9)
Humann, Paul, Reef Coral Identification, 1993, New World Publications, Inc., Jacksonville, FL. (ISBN: 1-878348-03-5)

Another great book but not currently available from the Science Center is:
Deloach, Ned and Paul Humann, Reef Fish Behavior : Florida Caribbean Bahamas, 1999, New World Publications, Inc., Jacksonville, FL. (ISBN: 1878348280)

INFORMATION: Please feel free to call me, Garry Dole, anytime for additional information. Work: 800-344-9611, x2598 / 716- 679-3419 or home: 716-337-2737 or cell: 716-200-7427.

Welcome to Tropical Marine Ecology 2006 at the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences (RIMS). Twelve educators from Western New York will travel to Roatan, The Bay Islands, Honduras, Central America for a one week, in depth study of Marine Ecology. Join us as we post photos and events of this workshop beginning August 13, 2006.

The above photo is of a Pygmy Filefish found in a free-floating mat of sargassum weed near Anthony's Key Resort, Roatan.