Sara E. Cannon, PhD

Aquatic Conservation Scientist

Wrapping up our research

On Thursday, we wrapped up our final day of diving in Majuro. Our first day was a bit of a rude awakening compared to the relatively clean reefs of Arno, but we were pleased to discover some beautiful sites on our last three days of diving. My first impressions are pretty much what we hypothesized, that the sites around Arno have more coral diversity and higher coral cover than the sites around Majuro, which are close to higher populations of people. Next comes the fun part: Analyzing the data to see if they show the same thing!

Branching Acropora and Acropora tables at a site on Majuro’s oceanside.
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Look closely and you may be able to see a tiny coral crab (hint: he’s white and blue)!

Things went really well until our second-to-last day of diving, when the boat we were on broke down. Fortunately, we were rescued by our captain’s nephew Ben, who then agreed to take us diving on his slightly fancier boat, the Four X, for our last day. It took us over six hours to get towed back to the dock, and we missed our third dive of the day, but the good news is we had a chance to watch the sun set over Majuro, and then could see the stars come out.  We missed Ronnie and Cary on our last day, but had a lot of fun with Ben and his first mate. Their boat is a little faster, so we were able to wrap up quickly, and were back at the dock before 4 p.m.

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There’s always a silver lining, and in this case it was the chance to see the sun set from the boat.

That night, we had a farewell dinner with a few of the many people who have helped to make this project a success. It was a lively affair with lots of animated story telling. I’m excited that I still have another ~7 weeks to spend with the wonderful people we’ve had the pleasure of working with. We’re already starting to plan our trip back to continue working here next summer (fingers crossed).

I spent the weekend catching up on emails, laundry, data organization, and getting ready to start my internship with the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority (MIMRA) next week. I also spent an inordinate amount of time trying to avoid starting myself or my apartment on fire while cooking dinner on a hot plate for the first time. And, because I’m a firm believer in marking momentous occasions with tattoos, I took a break to visit a friend at his shop, Marshall Arts Tattoo. This way, a little piece of the Marshall Islands will be with me always.

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Don’t mind the bright pink walls of my apartment.




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2 responses to “Wrapping up our research”

  1. Margaret Jean Cannon Avatar
    Margaret Jean Cannon

    The diary entry was great — should have given up a hint on the crab that its top was blue and it was tiny .. I know you said it was small — but this was tiny. Sounds like a great time, next time get an fake tattoo as you will always have the memory or just a very tiny crab tattoo

    1. You’re right, I added a hint about the crab! It’s hard to see if you don’t know what you’re looking for. I only saw it because it was waving its claws around trying to catch particles in the water!

      I don’t think I’m going to get any more big tattoos — maybe a tiny crab tattoo next time. 😉

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