Success in paradise

Five weeks after the initial problems brought on by my last minute surgery, I had regained more mobility in my foot. Finally I was able to execute my original plan from the beginning, of doing systematic surveying on Tridacna shells in the lagoon. On Mo‘orea, I, along with my fellow graduate student Summer Moore, had the opportunity to go out into the lagoon with three local Tahitians whom we worked with on the excavations. We paddled outriggers to an outer area of the lagoon on the east coast of the island. From there I selected a pole that was embedded in a coral to be my starting point for the modern survey. I systematically worked my way out from the pole towards the outer reef measuring the Tridacna while they were still embedded in the coral. The work could be tedious and the shells difficult to find in the coral heads so the others helped me look and record my measurements. I certainly was not expecting the collection of measurements to be easy, but the work was even harder than anticipated and would have been almost impossible without additional help. Also, the supplies I purchased with money from my Reves Center grant were essential to the collection process and if I were to do it again, there are a few other tools I would have purchased in addition. Valuable lesson: you only truly know what you need and are up against after doing it once. Despite the difficulties, I complied over 75 samples for the one area alone, which already significantly increased the modern Tridacna shell measurements available.

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