18 March, 2000
Although today is cloudy it is a relatively calm and pleasant day. We are spending our time completing the last few samples and data collections needed at site A and B. We collect one last otter trawl at site B. Some of the organisms will be frozen for DNA testing back at the labs. Other organisms are preserved as representative samples of the macrofauna ( animals which can be seen without a microscope). Maria Baker and Liz Galley, scientists from the United Kingdom studying at Southampton are collecting some whole animals from the trawl and dissecting the gonads (reproductive organs) from other animals to study reproductive dynamics. Maria is using sea urchins and Liz is using sea stars for their studies. Both of these animals are free spawners which means they release their gametes (egg and sperm) into the water and rely on the water to carry the gametes together so that fertilization can occur. They are trying to determine at what density a population has to be in order for fertilization to be successful. If there are too few animals or they are spread too far apart then fertilization may not occur. There has been very little work done in this area.
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