While at “Shore Acres Gardens,” a state park on the coast of Oregon, we shot our official class picture on the sprawling roots of an enormous overturned tree that has been laying in this spot for over 50 years. Lounging, hanging, reaching, owling, planking… we tried every pose. The shirts were designed by the group, with Abbie coming up with the phrase on the back, “We’re not in Florida anymore…” No, we certainly have not been! The habitats and environments we have explored have been an elegant counterpoint and compliment to the sandy beaches and climate of subtropical Florida. Because the Biological Oceanography students at Florida Tech have had much exposure to Atlantic and Caribbean species and phenomena, the exposure to so much new and different was especially exciting and informative.
The octopus was a bit of a whimsical choice for the shirt, but turned out to be a foreshadow of much of the excitement that would come to dominate our trip, where we found two species of octopus, maintained them in the lab, and ultimately donated them, alive and healthy, for use in the Marine Life Center, which is being built at OIMB and should be open to the public soon. The sand dollar on the front is meant to represent the very round, unperforated species that occurs along the Oregon coast, an austere contrast to the ornate key hole sand dollars of Florida. Florida Tech Biological Oceanography students found many of these in an outer coast dredging trawl aboard OIMB’s R/V Pluteus, their largest vessel.