Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mike Salisbury, UR - Sea Turtles and Beach Driving

This week’s article discusses human activity on the beach and its effects on sea turtles. The article
begins by listing a few ways humans impact sea turtles and their nests. Night-time human activity,
This is why it is important to remove beach furniture from the beach  
beach furniture and other recreational equipment (e.g., canoes, small boats and beach cycles, etc.) are the first few discussed. Eventually beach driving is brought up. Some of the negative repercussions of beach driving mentioned in the article are as follows: tire ruts extend the time it takes for hatchlings to reach the sea, sand compaction above nests lowers nest success, erosion, and night driving disturbs nesting females and disorients/crushes hatchlings. The article concludes with a few solutions and implies that beach driving negatively effects sea turtles.

After witnessing some very soft sand and deep ruts from tires in New Smyrna earlier this month; I agree that cars have no business on a nesting beach. Cue dramatic music, dun-dun-duuuun! I think we should be realistic about this issue though; putting an end to beach driving in Volusia County would be difficult. No driving on the beach during peak nesting months would be a good start. There has to be a compromise here, any ideas?

Getting past tire tracks/ruts is quite a feat for hatchlings 

As mentioned in this week’s article, there are a few things we can do in the meantime:
  • Don't drive on sea turtle nesting beaches                                                                              
  • Make sure to fill in any holes you dig while visiting the beach                                       
  • Remove any beach chairs, beach umbrellas, boats, or other beach furniture each evening
  • Avoid disturbing marked sea turtle nests, and take your trash with when you leave the beach


Comments from last week:

Deb 'n Paul

Great post! I like that you provided the link to your article--good thinking! Also a question--who said that raking the beach makes life easier for baby sea turtles venturing out for their first time? I'm just thinking here but--I would think that in the natural world, baby sea turtles have to make due with all sorts of environments and I would also wonder if the sargassum offers them a sort of protection from predators (?)

I thought the same thing! Or at least it would fall in the same category as raking/smoothing the beach and not be allowed. On September 8th I witnessed a Volusia County worker (dubbed Bob the Turtle Man) smoothing out the sand in front of a turtle nest using a similar setup to the one mentioned last week. I interviewed him after he smoothed the sand. Here is a quote from Bob I wrote in my field notebook, “It’s hatching season, smoothing out the sand makes things easier on these guys if they decide to hatch tonight.” Spoiled sea turtles I suppose, but they need all the help they can get.

This article mentions sargassum being used as protection from predators. It doesn't discuss sea turtles, but I would imagine it would be a great shelter for them.  I should mention Bob the Turtle Man was not removing any sargassum.

Other this soft sand problem seasonal? i.e., are tides/wave action generally higher in the winter than summer?

It seems like a year-round issue, I think it would be more common in the winter because there is more surf.  Although, a summer beach is generally broader than a winter beach, so the sand has more time to dry in the summer. Overall, it depends on the sea conditions at the time (tides, waves, etc.).   

After completing your first post--what do you think your interest is leading you on this topic?

I’m excited about this project! I have learned that beach driving is a broad and controversial topic. Living near a driving beach and witnessing the chaos really fuels my passion. I am considering the effects of beach driving on sea turtles, but this is a tentative idea.

Angela Boney

Did you use any kind of tools to measure the 20ft by 10ft and 1ft deep or did you estimate these numbers? If you estimated these measurements, what kind of tools would you need to get accurate numbers if you continue this research?

I did not use any tools for my measurements this time. In the future, I would use a good old-fashioned tape measure for accurate data. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Samm, UR - Could We Be Hurting the Coral, Too?

After learning about the potential hazards with sunscreen use and the slowed growth of phytoplankton, I was surprised to learn that our sunscreen could also be damaging coral.
Coral Reef Safe Sunscreen
The first "article" I found on the subject wasn't even an article! I had stumbled onto a website for Coral Safe Sunscreen. Their website claimed that four commonly found sunscreen ingredients (Oxybenzone, Butylparaben, Octinoxate, and 4-methylbenzylidene camphor) were shown to cause coral bleaching. Their website also led me to two different articles on the subject, but I was a little skeptical. After all - despite the fact they had hyperlinked to several articles AND the scientific study the information came from - I knew that this company was still trying to "sell" me their products, and I did not want to be so gullible as to just believe what they were telling me.
Bleached coral

So, I clicked on the link for the scientific study on sunscreen causing coral bleaching by promoting viral infections. Their results stated that sunscreen (even in small amounts) could cause coral to completely bleach because the organic ultraviolet filters in sunscreens caused viral infections in symbiotic zooanthellae.

Looking at the PLOS ONE scientific study for sunscreen pollutants, I noted that they included both Oxybenzone and 4-methylbenzylidene camphor as UV filters.That is two studies now that have found these sunscreen ingredients to be harmful to sea life. If I definitely decide to pursue this topic for my IRP, I think I would like to see if sunscreen is causing similar issues in freshwater sources, like our springs.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Angela, CUR – No Guts No Glory

Over a decade ago, I dropped AP Biology during my senior year of high school because I found out we had to dissect a pig fetus. Additionally, due to the various parts of creatures dissected in Biology II, I’ve been avoiding that course. Using a long handled shovel, I have scooped out and buried deceased frogs and one Koi fish out of my parents’ pond, but otherwise I’m one of those cowards that buys neatly packaged fish and chicken at the grocery store. 

First Cut
Thanks to Dr. Woodall, as well as Claudia Dennis from NOAA, I had a chance to get out of my comfort zone and handle my first dead fish. Former OCE1001 Lab student, Cathy Black, lent a hand and taught me how to gut a fish. We then weighed the guts, and proceeded to rummage through the contents in search of plastic pieces.

The three Black Sea Bass, may they rest in peace, I believe were caught 20 miles off shore from St. Augustine. Based on the stomach contents they had feasted on silver-scaled fish, small crabs, and a particularly large mollusk, which Cathy identified as a Moon Snail using the Reel Florida iPhone app. Even though I was finger deep in fish guts in order to inspect the various items contained within, I did not find any plastic pieces. I wouldn’t call this a bust, however, because next time one of my parents’ Koi finds an untimely death guess what I’ll be doing. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Brent, UR: Noise Pollution In the Ocean

     The article I have chosen this time is on noise pollution and the different types there are. the article explains that there are three types of man made noise pollution like ship noise, noise from oil drilling, and military sonar. however a couple of theses are broken down into subcategories. First off is ship noise. Ships are constantly moving with their engines running, however this sound can range between 20-300Hz which is the range many wales use for communication. I'm sure you can imagine that since the ships sound runs at the same hertz as whale communication that that would lead to accidental collisions between whales and ship propellers. That in fact is the leading death in wright whales around the world. Next is Drilling noise and it is broken into two categories: Exploration and Drilling noise. Exploration noise is the use of a  system called an air-gun array. This air-gun array sends incredibly loud sound directly into geological structures to detect for oil or natural gas trapped below the surface. Then there is drilling noise, which is exactly as you could imagine it sounding. the sound may not be as loud as the air-gun array however the sound lasts for a longer period of time. with both the air-gun array and the noise from the drilling platform this is enough to drive fish and mammals away from the habitat where they use to breed. Last is military sonar. The article states that back during the the cold war sonars weren't as bad since they focused on deep waters but now the sonar has a shallower and broader range. The noise from this up to date sonar is almost as powerful as the air-gun array. This is known to cause fish and whales to leave there preferred habitat and also causes mass amounts of whales to beach themselves to escape the noise. However with advances in technology and the study of marine noise fisheries are able to deploy underwater noise makers, or pingers, with their nets to warn whales to keep them from tangling in their nets.

Propeller marks in a whale

Air-gun Array

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Heather UR- The ocean's Natural Defense

            For this past week or two I have been debating what I would like to do for my project. I am interested in the ocean's (and earth's) natural ability to filter out all of the toxins and pollutants that we so carelessly introduce into the ecosystem. My first thought process was to study the rising pH of the ocean and the effects it has on shell fish's abilities to develop their shells. Oceans filter out the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and it lowers the pH of the water. There has been research conducted that the lowered pH has created an environment where the water is so corrosive that it eats away at young oyster shells before they can form. The lowered pH of the waters makes it harder for shell fish to extract the calcium carbonate from the water to develop their shells, causing the shells to be thinner, their growth slows down, and it increases death rates. If this continues what do you think the effect on the fishing industry would be? How much money will communities loose when populations of shell fish and some fish die off? this is the type of research that interests me; however, I am not quite sure what experiments I can do to go along with this. More information found here.
a Pteropod’s shell when placed in sea water with pH and carbonate levels projected for the year 2100. Photo credit 
After reaching a dead end with plausible experiment ideas (other than sacrifice some poor shell fish in the name of science) I started thinking about instead of doing research on what is happening to the ocean I should try to do research on what isn't happening to the ocean and what is it that is preventing it from becoming a toxic waste.

 Sea grass and mangroves are responsible for limiting erosion, habitats for marine life, and they slow down the ocean's currents keeping sediments from being kicked up. They also work to filter out the pollutants that inadvertently find their way into the oceans from sources like drainage run offs.
*sea grass information

Storm water can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants and wash then into waterways. These foreign bodies can have a negative effect on the water and the organisms that live there.  

  • An increase in sediment can cause the water to become cloudy, blocking out sunlight for aquatic plants to survive.
  • Extra nutrients from fertilizers can cause the algae populations to bloom and when they die and decay they leech oxygen out of the water killing aquatic organisms.
  • Trash like plastic bags wash into the ocean where animals can be entangled or choke on the debris.
  • chemicals from cars or cleaning supplies wash into the water way that are poisonous to the aquatic life.
*more information found on the EPA website

I would like to do research on several of the most common pollutants from this list.

How many chemicals does one cigarette butt introduce into a water source? What if there are hundreds of them?

Your car leaks oil onto the drive way and then the rain washes it away, what effect is that having on the plant life and the fish that rely on the plants for shelter?

I feel that this may be an easier topic to have a controlled experiment. I would also like to go to several areas where there are noticeable drainage areas and take samples of the water and plant life; as well as, document any noticeable pollutants or debris. I will also like to have several tanks where i can introduce some of these pollutants and monitor the plant life and water quality.  I would hope to find at the end of this research project exactly what the effects do some of these pollutants have on the ocean.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mike Salisbury UR: Soft Sand and Beach Driving

On August 31st I received an email from Dr. Woodall with a link to an article about beach driving and soft sand in Volusia County.  Click here to view the article

After reading the article, I gave Volusia County Beach Patrol a call and spoke with Brian Dean, a beach patrol representative. 

What makes soft sand on the beach?
The tide comes up generally around the same tide line
Wave height, small waves = less tide, bigger waves = more tide/erosion
Currents erode/deposit sediment
Storms pull sediment from sandbars and deposit it on the beach (Hurricane Cristobal)
When sand has time to dry it becomes soft
Driving churns the sand up (tractors, ATVs, etc.)

What can Volusia County do about soft sand?
Scrape beach ramps
Move traffic lanes

Volusia County is no longer allowed to rake the beach (with a vehicle) because of seaweed (sargassum). This seaweed gets caught in the raking process, which is not good, because this seaweed provides food/habitat for many animals. It should be noted, raking/smoothing the sand in front of a sea turtle nest is allowed. This makes things easier for the baby sea turtles on their first journey to the sea. 
This is similar to the old Volusia County setup. Goodbye seaweed! 
After the interview with Brian, I walked down to the local driving beach to investigate.  I came across a patch of soft sand right away and witnessed several cars struggle through the soft sand.

Notice the tide line in the foreground

This patch of soft sand covered an area of about 20ft. x 10ft. and was about 1ft. deep, at the deepest point. Observing the rest of the beach, I noticed a lot of soft sand.

The same spot but up-close 

Here are a few more pictures from that day:
More soft sand, here we go again! 
The aftermath

The location
Overall, I gathered some useful information about beach driving.  

Samm UR, Sunblock hazardous to sea life?

The article I found for this week deals with sunblock and it's affects on ocean life. The article states that titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles (which are common ingredients in sunscreen) can interact with ultraviolet light to form hydrogen peroxide, which could be toxic to micro algae, like phytoplankton. These micro algae will go on to feed other fish and whales.
The first thing I did after reading this article was to run straight to my sunscreen to look at the ingredients! I didn't necessarily find the two chemicals the article stated, but they could be under a different name. Although, simply trying to google it gave me a couple of websites that talked about how titanium dioxide and zinc oxide were used more as sunscreens because they are more likely to "scatter" the UV Rays  more than other man-made, chemical ingredients.
It's intriguing (and alarming) to find something that we use often (like sunscreen) might actually be harming the environment and the creatures that live in it, especially when we talk about how much better it is for US. It definitely makes you think about what you're really buying and using, knowing how it will not only affect you, but everything around you.
In the article, the two researchers went to Majorica Island's Palmira beach (in Spain) to test the seawater for spikes in hydrogen peroxide levels. I would be interested to see what kind of hydrogen peroxide levels are found in our beaches, and if it's affecting phytoplankton.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Brent Meister UR: The solution to ocean pollution?

     This article that I have found deals with water quality in our oceans. The article starts by  saying," The solution to pollution is dilution." which was the saying since no one believed that the oceans could be filled with trash back in the day. Which is totally ridiculous if you ask me. Also it list the major types of pollutants dumped in our oceans directly and indirectly like: pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizer, detergents, oil, sewage, plastics, and other solids just to cover a few. It goes on to explain how farmers use fertilizers and pesticides on their crops, and with rain and watering that stuff makes it to our runoffs which leads to our rivers and streams and eventually into our oceans or lakes which cause algea blooms which starve the ecosystems of oxygen killing off marine plants and small animals in time. Also things like shipping accidents dump oil, sewage, plastics, and other solids into the oceans were it gets trapped in places like the pacific trash vortex, which is about the size of Texas, or in the Mississippi Delta area. Also they have discovered a new vortex of trash in the Atlantic ocean in 2010. besides just pollution people have decided to dilute in our oceans the article mentions noise pollution like underwater bomb testing, sonar testing, noise from oil rigs, and even earthquakes. even though earthquakes cant be prevented it still, along with noise from oil rigs, sonar testing, and bomb testing they all mess with migration of marine mammal species, reproduction, communication, and hunting. However steps have been taken in the right direction to end dilution with marine sanctions, national laws, and international protocol which prohibits the dumping of pollution into our oceans.
Photograph by Ed Kashi for National Georaphic

     If you ask me what I think about this article I would tell you that it is an eye opener to how much trash and pollution we dump into our oceans which we know so little about. With the additives of polutants causing algea blooms starving marine species of oxygen and choking out marine plants which throws off the balance of the ecosystem in that area there may be nothing left of our oceans and we may as well call them the big blue wet things, because there may not be a big diversity of life left if we keep polluting our oceans. Also the discoveries of the trash vortexes in the pacififc and atlantic, and also the trash just floating in the Mississippi Delta, just tells me that the solution to pollution is dilution is not the way. The people of times past have created quite a mess for our generation but with the help of Marine sanctions and international and national law we will be able to shink the sizes of the trash vortexes and clean up Mississippi delta so we may save our oceans and have something we can continue to explore and enjoy.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Brent Meister- UR Oceanography introduction

         Hello, my name is Brent Meister and my major is Marine biology. I am very interested in marine life especially that of the deep water species. Also water quality is big for me. This is something I have wanted to do as a little child. You're probably thinking what made me make my mind up so early, well its kind of a long story. From the beginning my parents put me in scouts where I had a native American as a scout master. through him I became very in touch with nature learning how to live off the land and water, I was more interested in water than land. anyways through him you could say I became closer to nature, but not like a hippie. I eventually became good friends with him and his family and learned how to do things the "native way". I learned how to sing and dance and protect the environment. under my native scout master I made the rank of eagle scout, which is the highest award in scouting. while in scouts I got my scuba certification and my love for the sea grew. I guess its in my blood since the Irish were a sea fairing people. however with my scuba certification I opened new doors into a bigger world. I then meant chad the the marine discovery center and he did nothing but strengthen my interest in sea life. now I am in college chasing my dream to be a marine biologist. I hope to get my bachelors to start and then keep moving.
Me in Labadee Haiti 

Me at an Eagle scout Ceremony

The Native crew

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Heather--UR, Oceanography week 1

Hello my name is Heather Talley, I am a mother of a 4 year old son named Hayden James and he is the main reason why I have decided to go back to school. What brings me to the Environmental field is that I have always been fascinated with the way that ecosystems thrive or don't thrive and what it is that may effect the balance. I started to mainly be interested in Geology because one of my main goals is to better understand the way the earth can neutralize or buffer out the pollutants that we are increasingly adding to the environment. So far the main studies I have done where on the buffering capacities of the different soil horizons to see how they may buffer out the pH of a very acidic acid rain (pH 5), but I am also interested on the way that the plants can filter out air born pollutants. I am very excited to learn the proper way to gather data and samples; as well as, the correct way to log the data in the field book. I am also excited to get the field training that most students do not have the opportunity to receive, I feel that it will be a real leg up when it comes time to transfer or even get an entry level position.
My son Hayden

Me and my son.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Brittani Beaudet, UR Introduction

Me Snorkeling & Surfing

Hey everyone,

My name is Brittani Beaudet. I was born and raised in Daytona Beach. I LOVE THE BEACH & OCEAN, and always have as long as I can remember! I pretty much grew up at the Granada Beach Approach & my family's condo at Flagler Beach, always in the sun and ocean. Being in any water has always been second nature to me. I was a competitive swimmer all my life from the age of 7 up until after high school. I traveled to other countries and all over Florida for meets/competitions. After high school and developing bad shoulder tendonitis, I gave up the competitive part of the sport and now just swim for fitness and to be in the water. I like to go surfing whenever I can, and when I'm not in the water with everyone surfing, I'm taking pictures and videos of surfers. My first camera was gifted to me by a family member and ever since I can't stay away from surf photography. Traveling for waves with friends is one of my favorite things to do. I want to travel the world, and my goal is to one day live in Costa Rica. I have two amazing big baby pitbulls who will attack you with love. Their names are Duke and Toaster. Yoga is a big part of my life. I go to hot yoga almost every single day, and it is amazing both mentally and physically. Home decor and interior design are also a hobbies of mine, making furniture and re-doing my house every second I get.

Duke & Toaster 
My love of the ocean and animals combined are what got me to this point in my education. I want to do everything I can to make a difference in saving our oceans and our marine life. I also want to learn as much as I can about waves, currents, and tides due to my love for the sport of surfing. In addition, I have a huge passion for sharks, and I plan to do my research project on them. If anyone has any ideas, please share them with me! I am excited to be in the Oceanography Lab, and hope to learn as much as I possibly can, while having an amazing experience along the way.

Some of my Surf Photography

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mike Salisbury - Introduction

Hello everyone, my name is Mike Salisbury. I live in New Smyrna, just a few blocks away from the beach. A few of my hobbies include: surfing, hiking, camping, listening to/playing music and traveling. This is my last semester at Daytona State College; in the spring I am off to the University of South Florida to study environmental science.

I received my Associate of Arts with an undecided major from Daytona State. After doing some soul-searching, choosing to study environmental science made sense.  Being raised near the Atlantic Ocean, I have seen the local ecosystem drastically decay over time. Local jetties causing coastal erosion, beach nourishment that resulted in a decline of the local sand flea population, improper management of wastewater (i.e. polluted runoff flowing into the sea), tourism, and overpopulation are a few of the local issues that fuel my passion for the environment. In OCE1001L, I plan on researching how beach driving affects coastal environments. I am looking forward to this semester!

October 2012, Hurricane Sandy

Samm Miller - UR Introduction.

My little brother and I at Uncle Dale's lake!
Hello! My name is Samantha Miller. I am a 22-year old, majoring in Marine Biology here at DSC. I decided to take on Marine Biology after my first year of college, after deciding that Graphic Design was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It came to me while watching a Blue Planet special; when I didn't want to be a singer, I wanted to be an oceanographer! But I was always skeptical about getting into marine biology (I was never really good at science). And after my first year of college, I had lost myself, both academically and mentally. It took another year of telling myself that I COULD do it before I took my first class at DSC. And now, as every semester goes by, I am more and more sure that this is what I want to do with my life. To be near the ocean, or a river, or a lake, studying the organisms that live in our waters. I have never felt so sure about anything else in my life!

I signed up for this course to push myself. This will probably be one of the hardest class I take here at DSC. Not just because of the research project, but even the field work. I still have many mental blocks that I must break before I can uncover my true potential, and I hope that this course helps me break them, one by one, as I continue to discover the amazing world in our waters!

Angela, CUR – Disappointingly Clean Beaches in Oregon

As you can see from the Intro post made August 2013, Dr. Woodall has a hard time getting rid of me. Since then, thanks to the Oceanography lab research project, Environmental Health - especially effects of Marine Debris – has become my field of interest.

As a Continuing Undergraduate Researcher (CUR), I have the opportunity to continue posting about plastic waste. This summer I visited the Oregon coast; however, expecting to find at least one piece of Tsunami debris I was quite disappointed when all I found was a lonely miniature My Little Pony.


During my original research project that focused on plastic debris found on Florida’s beaches, I found hundreds of pieces on our state’s east coast. “Tourists are to blame!” is usually one of the first responses I receive, however, Florida’s west coast and some of the Oregon beaches I visited were just as populated as some of the littered beaches along our east coast.  The one thing I did notice: no garbage bins and no driving on the Oregon beaches I visited! Garbage bins and vehicles were two criteria I did NOT think to notate during my original Florida research, and thus I do not know if the lack of plastic debris on Florida’s west coast may pertain to the lack of vehicles driving over trash that didn’t make it into a bin!?