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Special Projects in Marine Ecology at Central Missouri State University in

Jamaica

           Definitely more interesting than my English class.

      This course allowed a bunch of Midwesterners to know the true joy of seeing a tropical sunrise, to hear the crashing of the waves against a rocky shore, to experience first hand what it was like to puke off the side of a boat being thrown about on a windy day. Mind you, we did a lot more than that. We collected every live specimen we could get our hands on. Some of us were bit by sand fleas on the night dive. Some of us were nearly thrown against the rocks while snorkeling into the bat cave. The fish were so fast they would swim circles around us while we tried to collect them. Few will forget how quickly the octopi could change from blood read to light blue, or how our puffer would eat a crushed nerite out of your hand. We took a walk through a Botanical Garden that rivals anything the States has to offer. At Ocho Rios I bought a fake Rolex while my companions nearly bargained themselves out of all their cash. We learned classical conditioning first hand: When the bell rang, we salivated. There was Garfield the kind bartender, and Dirk the dog that only limped when there was food present.

      And then on the second day....  

Here are a few pics I took one the trip. Hope you enjoy.

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            The motley crew that attended this excursion.                                     Bridges at the Botanical garden.

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What I like to think of as my best picture. This is firecoral (NO TOUCH!)                One of the many friendly seastars that             with diadema (NO TOUCH!) and some red rock sea urchins.                         wandered about the turtle grass beds.

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                    Do you see the flounder?                                                             An Orchid at the gardens.

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In the center is one of the three octopi we found on the night octopus hunt. This one has just put on some stripes for us.        They would change from red to blue to white to green to spotted and so on. To the upper left is a Diadema sea urchin.

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    One of the most beautiful, yet deadly, creatures known to                                                                                                 inhabit the waters of Jamaica. This, the Greater Caribbean Finger                           The path that lead to the head                Flipper, is widely feared by most fishermen, as it has a tendency to lash                of the stream that fed the gardens.              out at anyone near by for no apparent reason. Beware!

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