Sept 24, 2011 – “Fall Cleaning” and data collection at Wekiwa Springs
Author: Marissa L. Williams
On Saturday the Cambrian Foundation once again visited Wekiwa Springs State Park to collect data as part of our grant with the National Science Foundation, but with a twist. Our day began at 8:30 with a partial crew, including Amy Giannotti, Kris Shannon, Alex Houston, Marissa Williams, and two brand new volunteers Justin Merritt and Ashleigh Stewart. Upon request of the Park management, the team had planned to conduct a cleanup of the springhead and surrounding submerged area. Our mission, to remove discarded cement bags and brickwork that had been detached from the swimming area’s seawall and discarded into the main boil of the spring by park visitors. Divers Kris and Alex donned their SCUBA gear and were able to remove a couple cartons of debris by using lift bags to “float” the heavy materials to the surface.
Upon completion of this task, the remainder of our team arrived and preparations could begin for sampling of the “no-mount” cave off the side of Wekiwas’s main boil. Our divers scheduled for this venture were Terrence Tysall, Jef Frank, Karl Shreeves and Renee Power, most of whom have sampled this system many times as part of the Foundation’s historical data collection. Per request from the team’s lead scientists, Rima Franklin and Aaron Mills, all five biomass sites at each of the five stations within this system were sampled. Samples are collected at these stations to determine the amount and rate of bacterial re-growth since the Foundation last visited. This resulted in two hefty coolers of bacterial samples to be shipped back to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) for processing in the lab! Representative water quality samples were also taken from each station to be processed both by surface volunteers with field chemets and also by assistants at VCU’s lab.
Our expedition was completed by mid-afternoon leaving just enough time to pack up all of our gear and meet at Amy’s house for a team pizza dinner and de-briefing. Thanks to all of the Foundation’s wonderful volunteers, new and old, for donating their time and efforts to make this project a possibility!! Also a big thanks to Castaway Scuba for re-arranging their schedule to assist with our fills for the next day’s project at Rock Springs! Thank you, too, to the staff at Wekiwa Springs State Park for their continued support!
Questions/comments to the Trilobite??
Rima Franklin, Ph.D., VCU
Aaron Mills, Ph. D., University of Virginia