3/10 Mar Chiquita

march 2016 198

“The Little Beach”

Before the beach, we explored another cave that was along the way.  There were a lot of bones in it for some reason, and we weren’t sure where they came from.  But I spotted a few anole lizards, and I found a hollow coconut which was pretty cool.  Unfortunately, the wind and the waves were too rough today to go snorkeling and do underwater sketching, which I was really looking forward to.  But I still had a lot of fun exploring, gathering objects (seashells, algae, sponges, coral), taking photos, and sketching at Mar Chiquita.  One of the coolest objects I found was the tail of a spiny lobster!  It was black and orange with white spots.  When we explored another end of the beach, we walked along the rocky shoreline and saw thousands of little hermit crabs and snails clutching the rocks.  I enjoyed searching the tidepools for marine creatures too; we came across some gobies, juvenile fish, a brittlestar, and a few sea urchins.  We also found a snake perched in the palm tree near where we had placed our backpacks.

One thing that surprised me was seeing all the stray dogs at the beach…apparently people let their dogs roam the community, and when they have puppies, people abandon the puppies because they can’t afford to take care of them.  I was also shocked to find out that Puerto Rico doesn’t have an official recycling program.  I feel like people should do something about that…

Besides sketching and playing with inks and watercolor, I got to make a few resin casts and cyanotype art today.  The resins were really fun – we made compositions with our found objects inside small magnifying bug jars, and then we sealed the objects in place by pouring a resin over them (Lisa Pavelka Magic-Glos).  I’d love to make more!  My cyanotypes didn’t come out too well though.  To make those, we placed some of our found objects in interesting compositions on special sun print paper and let them sit in the sun until the paper was bleached.  Then we quickly placed the paper in water to rinse off any remaining chemicals, and we were left with white silhouettes of our objects.

Lastly, our discussion for the day was about how artists and scientists are similar.  Both are observers, creative thinkers and problem solvers, designers, and interpreters, and they find ways to communicate their ideas to the public.  I enjoy those traits in both disciplines, yet they are so different, which is why I’m still trying to figure out how I can combine my passions for art and science.  We also talked about how promoting interaction between scientists and artists can help bridge the communication with the public and inform people about new problems, discoveries, and solutions.  I really liked one of the stories that Stephanie told; it was about a student who was researching and promoting amphibian conservation.  This student decided she would promote her work through a logo and designing her car to advertise her research wherever she went, and she began getting more attention and contacts than she ever had before.  Painting murals was another method we discussed; in the future, Saul and Stephanie want to paint murals to advertise researchers in the Cambridge area, which I think sounds really awesome!  Citizen Science is another way to get the public involved with scientific research.  Through it, the public gets involved with gathering data which can be used for research and making new discoveries.  I know the Toledo Zoo does this, so I will look more into it when I get back home. 😀

The power of an image is so important in communicating ideas and research; I wonder if that is something I can get involved in?  What is it about science that people find fun, funny, interesting?  How can we get more people concerned with conserving and protecting the natural world around us?

Notes, Observations of life and habitat

  • cave nearby the road path to the beach
  • not very many people on the beach past the hedge of sea grapes we hiked through
  • sand, lots of shells, broken shells, algae and moss, some driftwood, some trash along the beach
  • sunny with clouds in the sky, windy
  • very peaceful, I love the beach…
  • small but turbulent waves, had to be careful on the rocky shoreline
  • lots of life on the rocky shoreline, some fish, hermit crabs in the tidepools
  • Approximate inquiry – questions of how, based on mechanisms or development of the behavior
  • Ultimate inquiry – questions of why
  • Fovea – focus point in the pupil of the eye
  • NSF’s REU program – research for undergraduates; Animal Behavior at Indiana University

Animal species

  • Pelican
  • Anolis lizards in cave
  • Dogs at the beach
  • 1 black bird
  • 1 orange and black bird
  • Brittlestar
  • Sea urchins in the tidepools
  • Gobies
  • Hermit crabs – very colorful!!
  • Snake – Borikenophis portoricensis
  • Ameiva exsul – has pupil like a goat’s, develops blue on ventral area; saw a couple on the beach, few large ones; one ran over our little area we had set up for cyanotype prints; will eat other lizards
  • Sponges
  • Coral

Plant species

  • Sea grape tree – Coccoloba
  • Vines growing in rock walls of the cave
  • Algae at the beach
  • Coconuts, palm trees