In less than 24 hours I’ll be on my way with two other colleagues to Puerto Rico, where we will be working with a group of faculty from the Universidad Metropolitana to help them develop a program to train and expose undergraduates to scientific research. Specifically we will be helping with some field observations and experiments in two different lagoons in the NE corner of the island. One of these lagoons is called Laguna Grande, and is part of a nature reserve called Las Cabezas de San Juan, and most interestingly it has one of a small number of “bioluminescent bays” that make up an important tourist resource in Puerto Rico. We will be working with the students and faculty there to study the ecology of this system and compare it to a neighboring lagoon that does not have consistent bioluminescent.
I will try to update this space with more information about the bioluminescence and our experience, but now it’s off to pack for the trip. We’ll be conducting experiments to look at the productivity of the system as well as the feeding of large zooplankton on the bioluminescent algae that give the bay its characteristic bioluminescence. In addition, there will be nutrient measurements and some genetic analysis of the bay. So stay tuned!