Some of you are probably wondering exactly what I am doing for my internship in Maui. Heck, I didn’t even know exactly what I was doing until I actually started on Tuesday. I am working in Kihei, which is Southern Maui. I am located at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sancuary. My research centers around an ancient Hawaiian fishpond, that’s over 500 years old. Ko’ie’ie fishpond is a unique location that is being restored for its educational, archaeological, cultural, and recreational purposes.
My research will be a comparative analysis of biodiversity of invertebrates between the interior and exterior portions of the fishpond wall. Basically, this week I have/will be going out into the pond (which is about 3 acres in area) and measure the three walls. After I get these measurements, I will use a random generator to identify 50 different sample sights. For example, today I measured the South wall to be 230 feet, so say the random generator chose survey sites to be at 8, 43, 87, 139, 190, 210, and 230 feet, I will use quadrats (a 2 foot by 2 foot square) to assess biodiversity. To calculate diversity, I can use indicies (such as the Simpson’s index or Shannon-Weiner index). These will help me compare the interior to the exterior of the walls. Furthermore, beside biodiversity I can examine overall abundance of the invertebrates (how many of each species is present). So, with 50 sample locations on the wall, and conducting two transects at each site (interior/exterior) I will be doing 100 total transects.
Furthermore, I hope to also examine algae cover on the rocks. If I were to do this I would look at percent cover of the algae (limu) present. This might also be important because in December, a scientist had transplanted algae on the wall, so it could be cool to see how the growth is doing.
Anyways, when I am not in the field doing measurements, I have a little office set up in a NOAA building where I can work on project planning. It is definitely not a bad set up, and an unbeatable location. I can’t wait to explore Maui and all it has to offer.