Under the Sea

Holly Callahan
March 6, 2015

Well I am officially part of the 80% of people who get some kind of gastrointestinal illness while studying abroad. I’m not sure what I got into, but I am feeling a bit better now.

We finished out second module last week and I started Marine Ecology and a Spanish class this week. I LOVE the Marine Ecology class (a good thing considering this is what I hope to do with my life). This week we went on three trips (well I did and everyone else went on a fourth today). They were so interesting! The Spanish class was kind of a dud, but to be honest it got better every day and I missed the last two, so I don’t feel like I can fully judge it yet.

I hope you all are not sick of underwater photos yet, because that’s pretty much all I have these days. We spend a lot of time in the water.

Galapagos_Tourist Pier_SeaLions_Holly Callahan

Our first trip this week was to La Bajia, where two boats have been mored for one and two years. Here we examined succession on each boat and how it changed with time. These sea lions line the steps next to the dock. The top one is always there and is HUGE!

Galapagos_Boats_urchin_Holly Callahan

This is a crazy sea urchin (Centrostephanus coronatus) and some yellow cup corals.

Galapagos_Boats_black coraL_Holly Callahan

Black corals hung ominously from the bottom of the boat.

Galapagos_Dock_Heron_Holly Callahan

This Great Blue Heron greeted us when we go off the water taxi. He wasn’t afraid of people at all.

Our next trip was to Tijeretas, where we were looking at the difference between species on the vertical walls and ocean floor.

Galapagos_Tijeretas_Urchins_Holly Callahan

The sea floor was covered in green algae, pencil urchins and damselfish. Damselfish are highly territorial so you can easily see the divide between their algae covered areas and the urchins.

Galapagos_Tijeretas_Damsel_Holly Callahan

This damselfish wanted me to get away while I was taking a picture of it’s rock!

Galapagos_Tijeretas_Whelk_Holly Callahan

Also on the bottom I found this crazy Galapagos Conch. I was initially drawn towards it’s neon pink flesh thinking it was a worm of some kind. It was about the size of a bunch of bananas or something. The biggest I’ve seen.

Galapagos_Tijeretas_Rock_Holly Callahan

The vertical walls were covered in different algal species and had cup corals on the undersides of rocks.

Galapagos_Tijeretas_Selenas_Holly Callahan

These young Salema fish were one of the many schools of young fish near the wall.

Yesterday half of us went to Punta Pit and the other half went to Leon Dormido. I was in the Leon Dormido group (I’ll go to Punta Pit next week) and got to SCUBA dive there this time. We were looking at zonation patterns on vertical walls. Sadly, my camera only goes underwater to 10m and we were around 20m, so I don’t have any photos. SCUBA diving there was amazing. We got to see a huge school of the adult Salema fish that surrounds you as you swim through it. We also saw sea turtles and sea lions fishing, many species of sea stars, urchins, sea cucumbers and fish. It was amazing and I am so glad my illness held off until today!

Today the rest of the class went to the low tide at La Loberia. I run there pretty often and it is a beautiful beach! Here is a picture from the last time I was there.

Galapagos_La Loberia_Lava_Holly Callahan

This is the view from one of the trails you can take over the lava rocks. I will have to figure out how to make up that excursion and the presentation I was supposed to give today. It will all be worked out I am sure!

Galapagos_Playa Mann_Sunset_Holly Callahan

I am still enjoying my time here. Here is a beautiful sunset from the other night with my classmates at Playa Mann. I am excited for Punta Pit next week and our research projects for class.

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Holly Callahan,


Returning home after a semester abroad on the Galapagos Islands.

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Holly Callahan

<p>Hello! My name is Holly and I love nature and the ocean. For four months I will be studying Marine Ecology in the Galapagos Islands. I can&#39;t wait study, live and explore one of the most beautiful and wild places in the world. Adventure awaits!</p>

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Biological Sciences
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