Being a part of SCUBAnauts International since my freshman year, I’ve had the opportunity to reach my fullest potential through the organization. I was able to achieve the highest rank in the program, becoming a Masternaut. I have over 100 dives, I am nitrox, advanced, and rescue scuba certified and I also have dedicated service hours to the organization and the local community. But the biggest component on becoming a Masternaut is the science project. My Masternaut project was on how plankton affects fish populations, and I was able to prove my hypothesis correct by finding a positive correlation between plankton and fish. I collected my data by completing an Atlantic Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment on four different reefs and also collecting a plankton sample at the same four reefs where the fish data was collected. From there I was able to compare my data and find correlations between four different factors: plankton vs. fish, plankton vs. fish by season, plankton vs. fish by dive site, and plankton vs. fish by feeding type. Moving forward, it may be useful to modify some of the original methodology like collecting data from different dive sites, or identifying the type of plankton under a microscope, but by the end of my project I was relieved and very excited to finally become a Masternaut. It was a great learning experience for my marine biology career to come and the future that lies ahead of me. I was able to go out in the field and collect data, interpret it, and put together a project that supported my hypothesis. Although it was a little time consuming, I enjoyed every part about it.

-Shaian Blanc