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