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Field Tropical Marine Biology (September 2006)

This eight-day field trip to Roatan Island in Honduras was an exciting learning experience for faculty and friends interested in tropical marine biology. Each day was packed with snorkeling, diving, photographing, and surveying. Shallow reefs, sand flats, seagrass beds, and coral walls were some of the ecosystems studied.

Dr. Elmar Sakala hamlet fish

(Left) Dr. Elmar Sakala explores the treasures of marine life in the waters off the south coast of Roatan. (Right) A solitary hamlet fish, Hypoplectrus indigo, wanders among the coral at Nudibranch City.

Queen conch file fish

(Left) The Queen Conch, Strombus gigas, is taken by local fisherman for food and is therefore rarely found live. (Right) A file fish swimming in front of a Gorgonian coral.

green turtle hawksbill turtle

(Left) Green turtles, Chlonia mydas have only two prefontal scutes. (Right) Notice in this hawksbill turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata the four prefontal scutes anterior to the central frontal scute.

eel watch dive instructor

(Left) Left to right is Ken Wright, Elmar Sakala, Karen Hay, and Cindi Wright looking for a black spotted moray eel. (Right) Dive instructor David Swain discusses a dive with Karen Hay.

flamingotonguesnail green moray eel

(Left) This flamingo tongue, Cyphoma gibbosum, is a member of the cowry family. (Right) A green moray eel, Gymnothorax funebris, rests among the coral.

coral diver

(Left) This is also a flamingo tongue, Cyphoma gibbosum, however, in this case, the mantle is withdrawn. (Right) Sabine Dunbar enjoys a dive in the warm waters off of Roatan.

island islandboat

(Left) Waterfront houses on stilts in the area of Oak Ridge. (Right) A view of Oak Ridge to the North of the Reef House Resort boat dock.

group group

(Left) From left to right: Celia Stoltzfus, Jerry Rivinius, Karen Hay, Cindi Wright, David Swain all preparing for the day's diving. (Right) From front to back: Darilee Sakala and Lynette and Jerry Rivinius on their way to the dolphin snorkel.

dolphin dolphin

(Left) Jerry Rivinius makes a new friend. (Right) Sabine Dunbar enjoys some close-up time with a bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus.

dolphins sponge

(Left) A group of bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus having some fun. (Right) Sponge or tunicate?

coral cleaner shrimp

(Left) A small stand of elkhorn coral Acropora palmata. (Right) A commonly found banded coral shrimp Stenopus hispidus.

sponge lobster

(Left) One of the many beautiful blue-barrel sponges commonly seen while diving off of Roatan. (Right) One of the many Caribbean spiny lobsters Panulirus argus seen tucked into a coral crevasse.

group group

(Left) The FTMB group with some island friends. (Right) From left to right: Elmar Sakala, Lynette Rivinius, Darilee Sakala, and Jerry Rivinius listen as Steve Dunbar tells about his discussions with the owner of Native Sons dive shop.

divers divers

(Left) Jerry Rivinius and Karen Hay learn diving techniques from instructor David Swain. (Right) Ken Wright swims towards a spot pointed out by dive master David.

coral gobie

A blue-lined fangblenny, Plagiotremus rhinorhynchos, resting on a brain coral.