By: Nicole Litt,`15
Lucy Webb, `16
Now that our trip is almost over we have had a chance to reflect upon our experiences. We really enjoyed the dives and counting fish because learned about the importance of even the most common species. This is valuable because we never knew the impact on the delicate balance of an ecosystem even a minor change like the shift in the population of certain species. For example, if the parrotfish population decreases, predators of the parrotfish would decline and the algae (their food) would increase. Plus, the loss of the parrotfish’s role in making sand would also impact the ecosystem. After learning about corals and species of fish in lectures, we were able to apply that knowledge in identifying these species in activities such as night snorkels. Suddenly the Latin name for a species of grooved brain coral like Diploria labyrinthiformis didn’t seem so foreign. This was very exciting because we felt more knowledgeable in a field in which we all find a lot of interest.
This trip was a learning experience in more than just one way because we all had to adapt to a lifestyle much different than our usual one. Thinking about conserving water while taking a shower, watching our leftovers after meals, and being more cautious about our plastics were all changes in our perspective after arriving in Bermuda. We had to be more responsible and mindful because of our close-quarters, several pieces of delicate gear, and everyone else’s safety while diving or snorkeling. We became a small community that looked out for one another. On top of our learning experiences we were struck by the beauty of the island. This makes us even more concerned with preserving natural beauty. For example, some small islands could be covered by water due to rising tides from global warming and species might become extinct due to human interference disturbing the natural order. We were excited to become more equipped with the knowledge of marine ecosystems other than the ones at home. Learning how to do research and an experience for possible careers in marine biology accompanied our exposure to these ecosystems. This environment and the people here sparked our interest and made us want to pursue this subject more. Although we are looking forward to our regular lifestyles we will miss the beauty, responsibility, and experiences we gained here. We are excited to bring back some of this new energy and wisdom to the GFA community.