11.10.2015 Day 3: Aquarius Teacher Under the Sea – Melissa

The day started off with high energy and a crew ready to work hard. We descended on the morning dive to change out the cameras, set new algae tiles and take before pictures. We then used sign language to identify which cameras were at which plots and at which time of day. Communication is key to any successful team. Some divers, after some time, can actually communicate with each other through simply talking under water. However, not everything can be understood. Therefore, during this mission (especially because we want everything to be uniform) we have copies of the research plans on water proof paper and extra pieces to write notes to one another or we can use metal objects like knives or clips to bang on our tanks to get someone’s attention. Sign language is helpful for identifying locations or simple things, but not everyone knows it and as I’ve learned this week ASL is not universal.

Amy Vinglish, who teaches English, is my trusty sidekick and daily dive partner on this trip. During this mission there is a lot of time spent on deck waiting out our surface times for the next dive. This is to allow our bodies to breathe. We can think of ourselves like soda pop. We don’t want our bodies to become too fizzy. So we surface for some time before doing more work under water. We have set up our experiments to allow for the two teams to have the appropriate surface time necessary. Amy’s energy is contagious and she is able to teach and engage those around her like no other. She decided to teach our coordinators of the research program, Tom and Sean, how to create Haiku’s. This was such a fun way to pass the time. Here is the one I was able to come up with.

Working Under Sea
Experiences Unreal
Science is Alive!

My second experience in the habitat allowed me to reach students all the way in Peru! I spoke to over 100 sixth grade students at Colegio Nuestro del Carmen! These students were highly engaged and asked incredible questions about the number of species living in coral reef ecosystems and the types of sharks we were expecting to see today. There is nothing that can explain the rush you feel when engaging students from all over the world to discuss ocean conservationism and the importance of the Aquarius Reef Base! Before leaving the undersea lab, I was able to connect with my 8th grade class at Unity School in Delray Beach FL. It was a wonderful way to end a long day of research.

We still have not yet had any shark sightings, but we’re hopeful. We may begin baiting tomorrow if no sharks show. After an incredible professional development hour with Coral Reef Foundation, I’m feeling even more inspired by the work we’re completing here this week. Fingers crossed for sharks, so we can collect the data necessary to make big changes!


Teachers Under the Sea – Ready to Dive!


Amazing Family of Spotted Eagle Rays


The Aquarius Life Support Buoy!


One thought on “11.10.2015 Day 3: Aquarius Teacher Under the Sea – Melissa

  1. Melissa, what a wonderful day for you. Even though there were no sharks the excitement you felt, we felt too. None of us could get through a single lesson today without a student yelling out, “I see a fish!”or ” There’s Ms. Norelli!” They were focused and excited about your adventure under the sea (thanks a lot!). Your experience has become their experience. You are inspiring them and us. I am so grateful for you and your passion. Can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow. We’re hoping for some sharks too. Barb

    BTW your pic skyping with 6th is on the front page of the FIU Aquarius website. Awesome!!


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