NEU/BIO 675: Biodiversity, Brains, and Behavior
January 15, 2020
Today started like every other day so far with breakfast, a morning boat dive, a drop off dive, a break and lunch, an afternoon dive, another drop off dive, and dinner.
The first boat dive site we went to was called Little French Cay and it is known for having a couple seahorses that swim around along the wall. Our dive master, Kirk, told us that seahorses are hard to spot because that can be floating on the surface or 80 feet under water. They can also be free floating or anchored to coral. The other difficulty is that there was a strong surge from the wave action on the surface. This means that the seahorses would most likely be hunkered down since they are not strong swimmers. We found the red seahorse wrapped around some coral. The second was found among large plant-like algae. On this dive we also saw spotted drum fish, queen angelfish, parrot fish, and a couple of crabs. The second boat dive, at the Valley of the Kings, was very similar as we saw the same types of fish and it was also a flatter reef on a wall. Unlike the first, we did not see any seahorses. We did, however, see lots of creole wrasse and schooling fish. During the last dive of the day, one of my friends was able to spear a lionfish. Lionfish are extremely invasive and the resort offered a class earlier in the week to certify guests as lionfish hunters/fishermen. This means that they can spear as many lionfish as they want. It was a major highlight getting to see this fish speared and brought ashore.
Earlier in the day, a local vendor came who carves black coral. Black coral is much like ivory as it is highly valued but illegal to harvest. This man is the only one in Central America that gets the black coral and sells it legally. He buys it from fishing boats and has a permit for possession.
I was able to purchase a seahorse statue and a sea turtle necklace. I love both pieces and they are tokens I will appreciate forever.
About the Honduras Study Tour
THE TRAVEL DATES
Jan. 11-23, 2020
Biology Prof. Scott Hegrenes
Sociology Prof. Bill Miller
Neuroscience Prof. Dan Miller
In this course, students will be able to study the diverse ecology of a Caribbean coral reef, while learning about the evolution of neurobiology of marine life to humans. Students will have the opportunity to be scuba-certified before diving in to explore the tropical reefs. They will get first hand experience of what Honduran culture is like during their stay, explore the Copan ruins, an archaeological site of the Maya civilizations, and visit the island of Roatan.