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Mission Log Sept. 17, 2009
Geoff Cook, Co-Principal Investigator
Today’s blog is being composed in the style of a Mad Lib. Enjoy!
Snorkeling with Elkhorn coral
Our day was spent conducting __________ (noun) on the fore reef environment at Looe Key. After spending over two hours underwater counting __________ (plural noun) and describing __________ (noun), we had the good fortune of receiving an _________ (noun) to explore a relatively new patch of Acropora palmata, commonly known as the _________ (common name) coral. Our directive was to snorkel around an area that was approximately___________(number) feet deep and select a prospective survey site to be included in future missions. Acropora palmata is currently listed as ______________ (adjective) under the endangered species act, one of only two _____________ (nouns) to have ever been listed for protection.
To our surprise, the _____________ (plural noun) of elkhorn coral were quite large and appeared to be in a relatively good state of _________ (noun). After _________(adverb) scouting a large area, the team agreed on a suitable ___________(noun) to install a marker. Using ________ (acronym) coordinates, navigational headings, and local landmarks, a second_________(noun) will locate this marker at a later date to make a permanent site installation.
Although we were _________(adjective) to see so many colonies of Acropora palmata, we could not help but notice the lack of other _________(plural noun) of coral inhabiting this area. Perhaps the reef crest/back-reef habitat is not_______________(adjective) to other coral species because it is so shallow? Acropora palmata is known to thrive in areas where high levels of _____________ (noun) energy create lots of disturbance. Fewer species of reef-building corals could prove beneficial for the threatened elkhorn coral because it would not have to________(verb) for space.
Geoffrey M. Cook
George Mason University
Stations Surveyed to date: 40
Number of individual dives: 144