Hey! This is Marlon coming again fromlast semester! Like Kelsey said in an earlier post, this is also my second semester participating in Kilo Aina. Back then, we collected plankton from Blaisdell Park, or Waimalu Stream (same place). Coming into it this semester my experience so far has been intriguing at the least. While I was expecting it, it is fascinating to see a difference of the microscopic flora and fauna of the planktonic world from place to place which never ceases to amaze me.
This semester, we migrated to Iroquois Point, where the presence of diatoms fluctuate, and the appearance of zooplankton we have yet to identify are never-endingly entertaining! Though, it’s not really such a surprise. Being at a new location- one that has a more direct access to the open ocean will bound to have new plankton we haven’t seen before.
Most of you who are participating right now would know this as well, but another new aspect to Kilo Aina this semester is that we quantify our samples. The data we input into our spreadsheet reflects a view I’d imagine seeing, where certain species are more abundant than others. Either because they are at the bottom of the food web or predators such as the Chaetognaths.
Also, as I continue Kilo Aina through our weekly meetings, the sporadic absence and presence of a planktonic species we (can’t identify) see every now and then puzzles me. Kilo Aina hasn’t run for a full year yet, and even then, there are some time periods where certain teams couldn’t go to the collection sights (mainly due to weather). Meaning that the rise and fall in certain plankton species, or the presence and sudden absence of a certain species could be affected by seasonal influences.
One species in particular, we have dubbed the ‘crab-fish;’ I have noticed that we haven’t seen it in a few weeks. Its absence could be in part because of the cooling waters (the water at my surfbreak has been getting a little chilly), the influxes of freshwater (either from the aquifers, water tables, or when it rains), or the appearance of a larger predator. At least to me, the counts or presence in the other usual planktonic species we see hasn’t changed. Nevertheless, it is still interesting and the number of questions our weekly meetings offer only encourage my team and I to seek out the answers.