The team visited Rock Springs in Kelly Park today. The objective was to gather and analyze water samples from five stations Ã¢â‚¬â€œ one in open water and the others in the cave. The day began by driving close to the spring with four heavily laden vehicles, which we promptly unloaded and carried to waterside. With a large Sunday crowd present, the team had ample opportunity to explain what our scientific purpose was and how it relates to the importance of protecting FloridaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s groundwater.
The diving commenced with a team of four, Terrence leading, followed by Ricky, Karl and Renee. Rock Spring is another high-flow system, so it took all four to collect the first sample. Terrence and Karl held Renee in the flow and assisted with the collecting bottles, while Ricky provided light. Karl took the samples back to the waiting topside team for analysis under Amy and RimaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s direction. They measured sulfide, iron, pH, oxygen, temperature, salinity and other data while answering questions from curious bystanders.
Meanwhile, the dive team went to the next collection station. After gathering those samples, the team turned and exited to deliver them and regroup. Terrence found and collected several isopods, as allowed by the research permit, for Dr. Julian Lewis of Cave, Karst and Groundwater Biological Consulting in Borden, Indiana. Dr. Lewis will identify the isopods and consult with Foundation personnel about proper management of the cave habitat. Splitting into two teams, Ricky and Karl continued searching for cave organisms while Terrence and Renee gathered water samples from the two farthest collection stations, and looked for stygiobitic biota (cave life) on the way out.