Monday, July 12, 2010

Orpheus Dive

I collected Pocillopora Damicornis and Acropora Nasuta from Orpheus island. Both of these species are important to study because fish recruit to them and they are dominant at many sites. Looking into the bleaching of these particular coral is a staple in determining coral health in particular areas.
To collect the samples small branches were taken from marked coral on the reef and placed in natural sea water where they were stored on the research boat until we returned to the lab. At the Orpheus Island lab the coral samples were placed in Formalin for transport back to James Cook University.

The samples were then placed into jars of 5% HCL to dissolve the skeleton. After the decalicification process the soft tissue samples will be analyzed for zooxanthellae densities. Zooxanthellae are dinoflagellates that have a symbotic relationship with coral. Coral get 90% of their energy from zooxanthellae.

To find the zooxanthellae densities small tissue samples will be taken from each of my 52 coral samples and homogenized (blended) and placed on a haemacotometer (special grid slide used with blood samples). I will be using a 40X optical zoom microscope to count zooxanthellae.

Natural variation will still need to be determined.

Cheers Mate
This was hard to get!!!

Dominique grabbing some samples!  She is amazing!

Orpheus is beautiful from the water!


  1. Thank God for the wetsuit to protect against the jellys!

  2. Looking great!! Beautiful photos… Saw the dangers of swimming in the water with all those venomous creatures... Elise didn’t mom and dad tell you to keep out of the water. Haha have fun and BE CAREFUL!
    Love you!


  3. Jeff MANN please tell Mom and Dad that its all good mate! No worries.