The Tarpon Springs (TS) SCUBAnaut Chapter couldn’t have had a more beautiful day for their first dive of the season. As you can see from the pictures, the water was like glass and the visibility was great! We visited two patch reefs: Sofia’s Garden and Brooke’s Kitchen. Both are sites that were surveyed a few times last year, so we’re adding to the data we’ve already collected. The ‘nauts performed underwater surveys that looked at fish diversity and abundance, coral diversity and size, and the types of benthic substrate on the reef. On board the boat, the ‘nauts collected Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) hydrologic and atmospheric data (see pics below).

TS SCUBAnauts, Colin Cassick and Brooke Liston, measuring the transparency of the water with a Secchi disk.

TS SCUBAnaut, Sofia Alaniz, measuring salinity with the refractometer.

TS SCUBAnaut, Aaron Rusoff, checking the relative humidity with the whirling psychrometer.

 This was also the first dive to use our new leadership roles. Under the direction of the Chapter Officers, three of the ‘nauts were assigned special roles for the dive: Brooke was our Science Leader, making sure the survey sheets were filled out correctly, coordinating which buddy pairs were doing which surveys, and collecting the surface measurements. Colin was our Dive Leader, checking that everyone was aware of the dive plan and ensuring everyone filled out their dive logs after dives. Aaron was our Boat Operations Specialist. He helped drive the boat out to our dive sites, helped everyone get in and out of the water, and worked to map the reef after the ‘nauts were done with our surveys.

Overall, a very successful dive and a great way to start off the dive season!

-Julie Galkiewicz, Tarpon Springs Chapter Chief Scientist