Fieldwork experiences and Spongebob

 My name is Manuel Diaz and I am in my second semester at Leeward Community College. I plan on obtaining my associates here at Leeward CC, transfering to a UH University in pursuit of a PhD. in mycology, and ultimately obtaining agriculture land to grow, inspire, and heal as many humans interested in self mastery. 

I learned about the Kilo Aina opportunity through one of my wonderful professors, Heather McCafferty Ph.D., and I would recommend any of the classes I have taken with her to anyone. She makes it simple to be a good student =).  

Going out to the field has been a blast and I am loving every moment of it. I feel like a legitimate scientist…. Kinda bummed there’s no lab coat though, PPE has a weird way of making me feel official. I am sure there are coats somewhere but this type of research does not require them.

When I first showed up I knew very little about plankton except that they were in fact, very little… Well I also knew about the character on the cartoon show Spongebob Squarepants.

The first field outings have been meant to get us used to the equipment and to develop our plankton eye. We sample water near Blaisdell Park in Pearl City, record variables, and then head back into the lab to count. Using some super sweet science equipment we are able to peak into a world I barely knew existed. Copepods (Plankton from Spongebob), diatoms, and barnacles… oh my. On the photo with the upside down Iphone is a string of what I was told may be microplastic. I had never put thought to plastic becoming that size.


I drew the lucky straw too because my second scheduled day I was able to experience some cultural sailing and navigating practices as well as visit a traditional/modern fishpond.


Professor Anuschka Faucci as well as  Professor Donn Viviani have been guiding and leading our research. I am grateful for the opportunity and I hope to add value to the team through hard work.

– Manny Diaz

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