Shaking rocks at the bioblitz

Biscayne National Park, Florida–Stephanie Roach is with the Marine Resources Development Foundation, a charity operating out of Key Largo, Florida. “Our mission is to help improve the quality of life on Earth through education and the responsible use of marine resources for food, fresh water, energy, minerals and medicine,” the organization says on its website.

“I do marine conservation for school groups,from 5th grade through college. We take them on the boats, teach them about the coral reefs, sea grasses and mangroves, diversity of the environment, conservation efforts,” Roach told me while out seining with students from the National Geographic Photo Camp at the Biscayne National Park bioblitz last week.

Seining is the dragging of a fine net through shallow water to see what animals might come up.

Biscayne Bioblitz 2010.jpg

Roach also shows students how to “rock shake,” picking a rock out of the water and shaking it off in a bucket of water “to see what invertebrates come out.” The range and type of species indicate the health of the marine environment.

While I watched, Roach scooped up a baby barracuda, among other species. “Usually in the sea grass beds and the mangroves you are going to find juveniles species. Sea grasses act as a nursery area for the animals before they go back to the reef. So they kind of hang out here, [where they find] lots of food…lots of places to hide out,” she said.

Other sorts of fish, including sea horses, have been found in these waters, Roach added.

How is the quality and health of the water? “As far as I can tell everything is looking good,” Roach said after looking at what was coming out of the sea.

Posted by David Braun

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