Several times throughout my FIT blogging life, I have posted about seining trips that students have gone on and have constantly insisted that FIT provides a hands on education, but where’s the proof? It’s easy for me to say that Florida Tech encourages student research, but how will anyone know that I’m telling the truth?
A few weeks ago, my biometry (biological statistics) group was presented with a new lab module that required us to obtain our own data. There were no real guidelines as to how this data was to be obtained, but we were encouraged to be as creative and in depth as we wanted.
My group decided that we wanted to go seining in the Indian River Lagoon for Bay Anchovy, just like I did last semester. The main difference this time was the depth of the survey. This seining project required three tows at three different times of day; 6:20 am, noon, and 6:40 pm, for two days.
Waking up at 5:00 in the morning for a college student is not an easy thing to do, especially on a long weekend. We dragged ourselves out of bed, hopped in the car, and drove to Goat Creek. The water was around 20°C for both seine trips, but the weather on Saturday was much worse than on Sunday due to decreased visibility from fog.
Once we were adapted to the water, we dragged the seine net through the lagoon, catching fish and putting them into bags to be sorted later. This was done three times for each time of day and done on both Saturday and Sunday and the fish were sorted on Monday February 27th during our lab period.
We ended up with some pretty interesting fish. We got some Bay Anchovy, Croaker, Pinfish, Mullet, Mojarra, and some Halfbeaks. The module assigned in biometry allowed students to develop skills that will be necessary in the professional world. Since we were predominantly marine biology/aquaculture students, our group chose to analyze organisms in the water, but many other groups chose land organisms as well.
Florida Tech really does promote student research, both inside and outside of class. If there’s something that you want to do, just talk to a professor and they will help you get started and develop your ideas into working hypotheses. Your professors are your best tool to excel at Florida Tech.