Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Katie UR: Long time, No See

I would love to be writing that I have finally caught a shark and I have finally gotten a swab but the sad truth is I have not. But I am going to up date you guys on the last couple places I have gone to go shark fishing. I have been out three more times since the last three and each time we have had major hits and bites but not an actual shark.

Site 4
Location: Buena Vista Park NSB
Time in: 12:33pm
Time Out: 4:56pm
Compass:29'2'13 N 80'54'29 W
Temp: 76 Degrees
Condition: Super hot and Calm
Poles out:9 poles out with frozen Mullet on the hooks
Details: We didn’t have anything really happen here. We caught Greenbacks as bait and had a Jack Attack but that was about it. 

Site 5
Location: Ponce Inlet


Time in: 9:30am
Time Out: 12:56am
Compass:29.28'42 N 81.8'W
Temp: 72 degrees
Condition: Cool out and beautiful
Poles out:9 poles out with frozen Mullet on the hooks
Details: We caught 4 bluefish.

So as you can see it hasn’t been much happening yet so I thought I would ask the help of people who live locally in New syrmna Beach and Ponce Inelt. I got in contact with a man by the name of Wayne. He does sessions with people who are dying to land a shark, AKA me. I called him and we talked about the project and he told me he would allow me to come to some of his sessions to get swabs from any shark that is caught during those times! He told me that he knows and is a 100% sure we will have a shark within the week! I am excited to see what we will catch and I will make sure I take tons of pictures of what we catch, which I hope is something.

I got asked some questions by some of the Oceanography class so Im just going to answer some of the questions!
Jason from section 23 asked What do bacteria look like and how do you tell one tiny bacteria apart from another?

Bacteria can look like a lot of things but the one thing that makes it easier for us as people to decipher what it actually looks like that and that shape. Bacteria can be in shape of clumped circles( Coccus), rod shaped( bacillus), and lastly in a spiral shape(sprillum)     
The good thing about bacteria is that there isn't much to them. Even though the shape is how you can tell how a bacteria looks but you can also use the shape if the bacteria to classify it.

Tomorrow I will be posting my Dropsical for Bacteria: The Untold Story From a Sharks Mouth!

Monday, April 23, 2018

One found, many to go UR-Allie


     Marine life is suffering indisputably from the impacts of plastic pollution in our seas. More than eight million tons of plastic are abandoned in our oceans every year. Confusing and poisoning naturally curious animals like fish, who tend to nibble on plastic and sometimes get entangled. Resulting in mutations and harm of many species. Plastic is a man made material unable to naturally decompose or digest as part of the normal diet. Internal plastic accumulation is proven to lead to blockages that shut down the digestive tract and cause death. Plastic has a decay rate of about 400 years and each year we produce more and more of it. Studies held by a team of scientists from the University of Georgia, California, Santa Barbara and Sea Education Association conduct the first ever global analysis and current statistic on plastic. Researchers have discovered About half of the total amount of plastics manufactured from 1950 to 2015, have been produced in the last 13 years alone. This implies the pace of plastic production is only speeding up, even though most products are only used once before disposal. The researchers also discovered that by 2015, people had produced 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics, 6.3 billion tons of which had already become waste. Within the total waste, a mere 9 percent was recycled, 12 percent was incinerated and 79 percent resides in landfills or the natural environment- such as the ocean.

What is known about plastic ingestion by fish?

 Waterways are polluted with harmful toxic non-biodegradable material and disrupts natural habitats.

•Plastic ingestion can cause internal damages such as ulcerations and partial blockages of digestive tract resulting in starvation and death. (Macklin, 2018)
•Ingestion is noticed in both predatory fish and filter-feeders. Predatory fish can mistake plastic for food while filter-feeders sometimes ingest them unintentionally while feeding. (Blastic, 2016)

What is unknown about local plastic ingestion by fish?

Local studies of the microplastic ingestion by fish
Studies on physical damage and excretion processes in the gastrointestinal tract of fish
Clear differences in the amount of plastics ingested between pelagic and benthic fish
A relationship between fish feeding habits/ diet and liability to consume plastics

Scientific Question-

Are local fish species suffering from the impacts of microplastic consumption?


Using the microscope in the IMES lab to find plastics
  • Latex gloves
  • Measuring tape
  • Fish ID guide
  • Camera 
  • Dissecting kit
  • Petri dish
  • Dissecting microscope


Process of dissection

Collect/ receive dead fish.
Measure and record fork length of fish, use fish ID to identify the species.
Preserve remains to store at the laboratory.
General Fish anatomy
Use the knife to cut horizontally along the abdomen of the fish’s stomach and remove the stomach and digestive tract.
Use the dissecting utensils to cut and dissect the stomach and digestive track to examine for microplastics.
If microplastic fibers are discovered, remove and place in petri dish to examine further only under the microscope.

To test found substance for plastic material, heat up a metal and touch the fiber to observe the reaction. If the material shrivels up and melts, determine this to be a plastic.

44 cm Bluefish ready for dissecting


One tiny microplastic fiber recovered
5 fish have been preserved and dissected under a microscope for microplastic fibers. One 44 cm Bluefish, two 39 cm Bluefish, one 40 cm Bluefish, and one 30 cm Pompano. The results are one piece (< 1’’ in length) microplastic fiber was located in the 44 cm Bluefish.
Graph expressing the plastic found in local fish
One microplastic found under the microscope

Out of five fish samples, one blue fish after further examination was positively identified to have contained one plastic microfiber (<1”) by the heat reaction test.

Yes, there are microplastics found in locally caught fish. Out of only 5 fish, one microplastic was found. In further research, possibly a trend amongst the accumulated data could be identified.

Works Cited:

oAmaral, Kimberly. “Plastics in Our Oceans.” Plastics in Our Oceans, science/B/people/kamaral/plasticsarticle
•Plastic ingestion by fish. (n.d.). Retrieved March 02, 2018, from
•What Do Fish Eat? The Answer Will Leave You Stupefied. (n.d.). Retrieved March 02, 2018, from
•Cleaned up the Daytona Beach You Hippies! (n.d.). Retrieved March 02, 2018, from
•When The Mermaids Cry: The Great Plastic Tide. (n.d.). Retrieved March 02, 2018, from
•Macklin, Malorie. “Is It Really Worth the Convenience? 6 Ways Plastic Is Harming Animals, the Planet and Us.” One Green Planet, 23 Nov. 2017,
•Lonne, Torben. “How Ocean Pollution Impacts Marine Life-and All of Us.” MarineSafe, 3 May 2016,

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Hannah Vu-Bennett (UR) - Water quality testing practice!

Last week, my class had the opportunity to conduct a water quality survey at Tomoka State Park. We took four water samples throughout Tomoka River. As we took our samples, we performed water quality tests in-situ. We tested for salinity, pH, total phosphate, oxygen, turbidity, an depth. The majority of what we tested for was similar of what I would be testing once I have gathered my water samples. Participating in this lab was a great trial run for when I am ready to run test on my groundwater samples. In this lab, I was able to practice using the Hach HQ 11D which tested the pH levels of the water samples. I also able to use the Hach Colormeter for Total phosphate and the refractometer for salinity. For my IRP, the Hach Colormeter will be used to test for phosphate as well for nitrate levels. This lab has prepared me as I begin the testing of my water sample for my independent research project!

A small portion of Tomoka River, where our annual water quality survey was conducted!

Cynthia UR Surrounded

There are 11 pieces of plastic in this picture 6 opaque and 5 lavender
Some reading is required to qualify this new survey; terminology a plus, so that communication will be in the same language.  It’s more important than one might think, considering I was about to post some things here and need to amend some terms so they will translate correctly later to others making the same effort.  I will use the term trash, and of this I will concern myself with certain elements within. 
Man-made synthetics (ie) polymers (plastics) including nylon, and foams, polystyrene and polyurethane; and cigarette butts.

The bigger view detects orange and blue
I made a list of common polymers that will be found on our shores. In a complete list thousands would exist. Combinations from any of these are created all the time, and many are being tested as we speak. (This list is missing the large family of Teflon.)  I will not be testing for what type I have found, but this should give you an awareness to the source contaminants we are adding to the biology of this planet.

#1 PETE or PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) usually clear/ water and soda

#2 HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) Plastic typically opaque

#3  V or PVC (Vinyl) Plastic #3 is used to make food wrap, plumbing pipes,
and detergent bottles. Composition may still include phthalates, which are linked to ranging health issues; developmental problems to miscarriages.

Site 2 Day 2 Small Plastics 
#4 Low density polyethylene (LDPE) generally thinner more flexible. Nylon rope (LDPE chain branching). 
Can leach the endocrine disruptor nonylphenol (added to LDPE as a stabilizer), especially when exposed to sunlight.

#5    Polypropylene (PP) Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer. Mixed in many colors; used for food containers (ketchup, yogurt, cottage cheese, margarine, syrup, take-out), medicine containers, straws, bottle caps, Britta filters, Rubbermaid and other opaque plastic containers, including baby bottles.

#6    Polystyrene (PS) egg cartons, disposable cups and bowls, take-out food containers, packing peanuts, bike helmets.
Harder clear/opaque PS: disposable cutlery & razors, compact disc & dvd cases. Animal studies have shown adverse effects on genes, lungs, liver, and the immune system. 

#7 or #0   Polycarbonate (PC) is an extremely common plastic in this category and is often associated with this category. 
Keep in mind that polycarbonate is not the only plastic in this category and if a product has a number 7 on it without the letters PC under it, the product could be made of polycarbonate or it could other plastic.

Mama Mundo Inc. (2015). Life without plastic. Common plastics #1 to #7 Retrieved from

Box, Carolynn, of Five Gyres. (2017). Tracking California’s Trash Project
Testing Trash “Flux” Monitoring Methods  in Flowing Water Bodies. For BASMAA. Retrieved from

Friday, April 20, 2018

Karen (UR) > I'm Still Alive > Thanks Dr. Woodall !!

This is my second post for this week because I had a GIANT setback.  OK, maybe not giant but it sure made me have to re-think my project.

The LaMotte Nitrate/Phosphate test kit I am using only reads levels to 1.0ppm Nitrites or 4.4ppm Nitrates. 

Last week I brought the Nitrate level up to the 4.4ppm level without realizing that I had maxed out the level the test kit could read.

So yesterday, after realizing what had happened, I decided to keep the level at 4.4ppm Nitrate.  I have been testing the solution before I added any more (for transpiration/evaporation loss) just to satisfy my own curiosity. 

The new plan:  Monitoring weekly:
I will continue to keep the Nitrate level at 4.4ppm to see if it affects the duckweed while monitoring the level of Nitrate it uptakes.  The evaporation/transpiration loss has been consistent at 70ml for the control and 80ml for the plant dishes.

BIG Thanks to Dr. Woodall for the title of this post :-)

Related image

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Cynthia UR How Many Picking Parcels Did She Pick ?

New UR                                     04/18/2018
My first attempt at a new projected focused on Recycling in my area and whether I could obtain data from Jell Recycling which is who my area contracts with; However, after tracking them down and speaking at a reception level with the company no further contact was made with me after leaving my information. 

FINE !!! :(

Time still running out I began to pick up trash and I liked it !!!!

I use a mechanical grasping device to retrieve only on that which is at least partially exposed; I never dig or sift, and only turn over Organic material piles using the fork at the end. The objects are then placed in an empty cat litter bucket that has a lid and handle with a liner that I can empty contents when I am finished onto a box for photo record, dated and then securely stored till sorting.
It takes about an hour to cover this stretch walking along as you would if you were mowing a lawn, a three foot wide march back and forth north to south and back again.

The first site location is on the beach from the Harvard Drive access north to a stairwell at the 200 ft. mark. Then out to the shoreline water.
The second site location on the beach from the Harvard Drive access south to a stairwell at the 200 ft. mark. Then down to the shoreline water. 

Data: Quantitative
Having retrieved an assortment, I decided to create a daily assessment, and classification: Bar graphing for classification and Point Graph to monitor amount over time period.
I will divide by miscellaneous plastics, cigarette butts, straws and wrappers. I don’t believe weight individually is a problem but I will weight each days totals to see if this decreases with each collection.  
Site #1 Day One
Site #2 Day One
My New Investigation;
How much trash is on this stretch of Beach?
What influences (type of trash) is most prevalent to the naked eye?
For my research I have chosen two sites with recycle and trash bins present on both sides of access drive.
  • ·         Between 9:45 am and 11:10 am each day I retrieve data.
  • ·         Both sites are in Ormond Beach at the Atlantic Coast.
  • ·         Both have “Drive on the Beach” access.
  • ·         Both are cleaned by the County of Volusia and I am waiting for information on how often and when the last clean-up was performed.
  • ·         Both are cleaned up by an Organization that I have contacted in order to thank them and to find out the last time they were at that location.
  • ·         Both boundary parking lots and one boarders a bar and grill.
  •     Each site is checked every other day
Am I picking on the bar and grill? I don’t think I am. After all, I do not control the trash at these sites, and have no investment in this outcome.
It is a quantitative study using objective measurements and numerical breakdown of data collected. It is however a possible variable.

Cynthia UR Th-The That’s all Folks!!!

Seems we just get started, and before you know it; comes the time we’ve got to say so long…
I was reluctant to say the least, about the idea of moving onto another subject after the effort preparing to identify the larva of crustaceans, copepods, and cnidarian at their various stages.  So I set up the new samples and connected the pumps but after a search in each hoping to locate something alive, and after a conversation of time remaining, I have decided to make replacement preparations for an alternate project.
I will no time soon forget gazing through the glass in amazement, and coming across valuable essential information that I will share in this final entry for the next investigator and hope for their success.

Zooplankton of the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts: A Guide to Their Identification and ecology.  By William S. Johnson, Dennis M. Allen
High Bridge in Ormond Beach where I found the most life at high tides.
William Johnson also shared on his site the secret to slowing down the plankton species; its clove oil. Clove oil can be purchased at most any pharmacist over the counter, it’s an old toothache remedy. It apparently aestheticizes them temporarily.

Karen (UR) > Variables and Changes Made >>>

At Dr. Woodalls suggestion I researched (or tried to) the amount of Nitrate in Pig/Hog manure as that's the on-going research being done in North Carolina.  That didn't go well !  Apparently, there is no consistent data. There's ALOT of data, but it all depends on the age, sex, feed type and if the sow is pregnant or nursing, not to mention where the farm is located.
So with that said, I have changed my IRP to accommodate my crazy schedule, I'll be out of town so I won't be able to monitor the Nitrate level every 48 hours.  This means that I will be testing once a week (Thursdays).  As close to the same time as possible (6pm). 
On April 10 I brought the Nitrate level up to 4.4ppm in all 4 culture dishes.  This is approximately 3 times the initial amount of 1.76ppm.  I added to the liquid mixture due to evaporation/transpiration:  70ml to the control dish and 80ml to the 3 with the plants.
So far the duckweed is alive and well !!

Looking Good

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Jenna (UR)- Beach cleanups are 4Ocean!

Thank you so much Patricia Sanders from OCE 1001 for your questions!
Questions: How does eating plastic affect bird life? Does it kill them? Is there a proactive group in our area to clean up the beaches?

Answers: To answer your questions, eating plastic can potentially kill the birds depending on how much they consume, if there is any type of dangerous chemical on the plastic or how the plastic affected them in general. Not only do birds consume plastic but also some kinds of plastics such as soda can wraps can get caught around a birds neck and choke them. There are many groups in our area that do beach clean ups, for instance my parents and I did a beach clean up with the Surfrider Foundation in New Smyrna Beach over a year ago and it was a great experience. Other groups such as Ocean Conservancy and 4Ocean host beach clean ups as well!
My parents during a beach cean up with the Surfrider foundation.
A dead bird that ingested plastics.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Cynthia UR The Good The Bad and the Faulty

So, now it’s day five. (04/15/18) We lost power at the Daytona Campus on April 12th for the entire day. Though I looked in all four tanks twice by that time never finding specimens to identify except in the High Bridge sample natural site from Ormond Beach.

The salinity of (a) High Bridge is 30ppt (b) Daytona Beach 26ppt

(c) NSB 37 ppt and (d) Canaveral 38 ppt.  Obviously this is not something I expected and leaves me concerning the simple effects of organisms that will change due to these salinity differences.

I looked again on the 13th with the same result. Each time I pull from High Bridge a new species emerges that sparks my interest again, but the other tans appear to be void of life.  All the tanks have fibrous colored debris of plastics.

This covers the good and the bad, the faulty lies with the process I chose to collect them. I should’ve delved deeper into methods to collect my samples and might have discovered I needed to use a plankton tow method; although, I am not sure how I would’ve pulled it off for all four sites.

I believe I have actually identified one of my plankton as a Nitzschia, a type of Diatom, and the individual a sigmoidea.  Admittedly, I cannot make a precise classification without proper magnification and that adds to my frustration.

Here are two more I am still searching for: The first is a Crustacean and the next I believe Cnidarian 
Plant food was added just prior to power going out, algae has began to accumulate at the bottom of all four tanks.

Alas, I will continue this process hoping for some findings within the other tanks in time. I was informed a study is being conducted by 
Bethune Cookman Univ. and perhaps I can find out more on Monday.
In the meantime I have a few pics, most appear blurred because my catches never stay still nor slow down.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Data on the Way! UR-Allie

I appreciate your questions on my IRP!

Jessy from Sec 102 replied, “Fish eat plastic? What type of fish have they found plastic in?”
Thank you for your inquiries Jessy. Fish do indeed consume plastic- usually unintentional but all times detrimental to their health. I am also trying to find which fish commonly ingest plastics. My question was, is any certain type of fish more susceptible to the effects of plastic pollution? However, not much research has been extensively done and within my research I cannot find a particular species that is most popular to ingestions.   

Sarah from section 101 asked, “what happens to the plastic if they do consume it? Do they pass it? Does it digest like other food?”

Image result for plastic in our seas
Turtles- like fish are curious about their environment.
Image result for plastic in our seasGood question Sarah. The result of consuming plastic is very harmful to all living organisms. Plastic is an artificial man made resource that is not biodegradable. In fact, it takes about 400 years to breakdown the toxic chemical waste composed of plastic. Over the years, this material has bombarded our oceans and marine life.
Naturally, curious fish nibble on the trash and get tangled up in it. Since it takes nearly forever for the material to naturally breakdown, heavy ingestion of plastic forces the consumer’s digestive system to shut down. Plastic is not digested normally so it cannot be processed or passed like usual substances. Interaction with plastic results in deformities and/or death within the creatures of the sea.

Project update- A few changes

Many scientists know that along with conducting research and executing experiments, it is a work in progress. After reviewing the thought process of my previous independent research project proposal post, I found an error in future measurement. I have concluded that using the mass of the fish in relation to the microplastic consumed- will not be sufficient. Most know, I am accepting dead fish remains for extra data and information. Some of the fish received/ found aren't all there. I cannot correctly obtain the data for mass of fish for a species I have half of. So, keeping it moving forward- I am only measuring the fork length of each species and mass of microplastics recovered within.

       My Materials: Gloves, Scale, GPS, camera, measuring tape, Fish ID guide, knife

Works Cited

“Plastic Soup – the New Name for Our Oceans.” Green Living @ / Eco, Environmentally and Green Inspiration for Planet Earth, 2 Oct. 2014,