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Marine Lab Partners with Researchers on Sea Grass Study

April 12, 2021
During the first week of March, the SCCF Marine Lab hosted University of Michigan doctoral candidate Samantha Iliff (left) and Rachel Joy Harris, Ph.D., senior scientist at the Loxahatchee River Environmental Control District, to collaborate with SCCF scientists on a research project investigating invertebrate populations in seagrass beds. 
The Marine Lab provided local knowledge and the use of equipment, lab space, and a stay at the Wilmeth Cottage for the visiting scientists. Florida Gulf Coast University graduate and undergraduate students Brondum Krebs and Amanda Lewan also helped.
During two field days, the crew extracted approximately 48 sediment core samples and 12 samples using custom-made suction dredge equipment. (It was created with a simple water pump, a complex set of tubes, and a special suction nozzle used in gold mining.) 
Back in Michigan, Samantha will sort and identify the crabs, shrimp, fish, snails, clams, and other small creatures, and quantify invertebrate biomass and production to determine who is living in the seagrass beds. These organisms provide the base of the food chain in seagrass beds, which is the foundation of our coastal fisheries. Samantha’s research was originally planned to be conducted in the Bahamas, but COVID-19 restrictions prevented her from entering the country. She plans to use the Florida sampling to publish a short paper and for comparisons to the Bahamas next year. 


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