June 21, 2018
I decided to celebrate the summer solstice by going for a hike into the mangroves with one of our research interns, Marissa Kelly, and some fancy scientific equipment. The lure of a first time visit to Cat Claw Trail, a nature trail near the Rookery Bay Field Station, was enough to motivate me despite the June heat.
As an added bonus, I also got to spend time with Dr. Ashley Smyth from the University of Florida. She is collaborating with Marissa on this research project and drove over from Homestead for the day to see the field site. Dr. Smyth typically works with shellfish, so mangroves are still a novelty to her. We discussed the three species of mangroves, pondered where the water flow in this forest came from, and chased mangrove tree crabs, while Marissa did all the hard work.
Marissa explained how she hooked up the IRGA (infrared gas analyzer) to PVC pipes she'd installed in the ground to measure carbon dioxide levels in the soil. She also showed us how to record the data. It was interesting to see this technology in action, and hear Dr. Smyth’s suggestions for how to get a more complete picture of the carbon cycle in our mangrove forests. It was great to get out to see a new part of the Reserve and learn about the mangrove research we are doing in partnership with my alma-mater, the University of Florida. Go gators!
Coastal Training Program Coordinator