They also conducted a study to determine coverage and biodiversity in the seagrass beds adjacent to causeway islands. Participants used quadrats to estimate the amount of seagrass in designated areas in two different site locations. Seine nets were used to sample the creatures living in the seagrass and to create a catalog of all the species observed or documented at those two sites. At the end of their study, they concluded that there was more biodiversity along Causeway Island B, but a higher coverage of seagrass on the seafloor along Causeway Island A.
FGCU professors Jo Muller, Ph.D., and Molly Nation, Ph.D., offered lessons on geomorphology and water quality. Participants spent a full day out on San Carlos Bay collecting sediment cores and water samples via boat to later analyze in the lab.
Muller discussed the importance of collecting sediment cores and how scientists can gain insight on past hurricanes to forecast future events and how climate change can affect the size and strength of hurricanes.
Camp participants analyzed water samples from the bay for microplastics, in a process that Nation directed, by running the water through filtration paper that separates the plastics from the water. Microplastics were found in almost every sample. Microplastics are consumed by fish, mollusks, and crustaceans, and eventually, in humans from consumption of seafood products.
At the end of the week, participants analyzed data collected from one of the research topics and presented their work at the Bailey Homestead.
This partnership with FGCU and Lee County public schools was made possible by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, and we are grateful for being given the time to develop this awesome camp experience.