Finally in the field again! It is the start of a new year and our team is back out in the field. This time we are in Fernandina Beach, Florida, on Amelia Island, 25 miles Northeast of Jacksonville, Florida. At the start of every field season there is always a start up process. For this trip, Dana Cusano and I flew in from Syracuse, NY with four enormous bags of gear, along with two carryon bags and two life saver colored hard sided pelican cases. Somehow we managed to wrangle all the luggage to the curb, and thanks to a rush on cars at Enterprise we were able to get a complimentary upgrade to a rental vehicle large enough to store all our bags. The Sugar Bowl game was in Jacksonville, Fl on January 2nd, a fact we were unaware of, which explained both the high cost of plane tickets and the low available stock on rental cars.
After a quick lunch, we drove to the house on South Fletcher Avenue where we met up with Jessica McCordic, a new Master’s student in the lab, and Lisa Conger, a scientist from NOAA. The next few days passed quickly in a blur of food shopping and equipment testing, along with all the normal snafus of missing small, but very important, items in the field kit.
After 2 days were were joined by Leanna Matthews, a new Ph.D. student in the lab. At the last survey there were already 13 mother calf pairs in the southeast, so we are hoping for a banner year! The team is assembled, the gear is ready, and now we are just waiting for the wind to drop enough for us to get out on the water. Fingers crossed.
-Dr. Susan Parks