Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Getting Started

To get started I will give a brief introduction, my name is Justin, I will be your guide.

I am a Junior at Lake Superior State University, although I am not your typical college student. In 1998 I joined the US Marine Corps and served until 2011. I am married with three boys, so I am a decade behind the common college curve. I decided to go back to school and major in Fisheries management, with a minor in Geology.

After a lot of flip flopping back and forth I finally settled on my research Thesis. I will be looking at the Effect of combined colonization of Dreissenids and Cladophora on Shipwrecks. I have been an avid diver since 2001 and have tallied dives in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans in addition to diving all of the Great Lakes except Ontario. Which brings me to the point of this Blog. I have noticed there are a lot of young novice divers and soon to be divers around the Soo, after speaking with Dr. Evans we decided my course through school may interest a few people, and hopefully inspire a new diver or two.

To start I will be preparing to leave for North Carolina this summer to complete my Dive Master and Open Water Instructor certifications along with additional training in Scientific Research Diving. For those that don't know diving is a deadly serious business. You need training to safely use Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) equipment. If you do not get the training and follow it you can kill yourself. In my case I want to be able to train research divers so I am headed to North Carolina. The first part of the summer will be spent finishing my Dive Master and Instructor courses, after which I will participate in several habitat conservation dives where we will conduct Pacific Lionfish eradication.
courtesy South Carolina DNR

photo by Ned Deloach, Reef.com

The Pacific Lionfish is an invasive species to the Atlantic Ocean. Greater than 80% of the current populations of Pacific Lionfish along the Atlantic coast have been genetically linked to 6 common ancestors that are believed to have been aquarium stock that a private aquarist released. This unique example shows us how devastating even the smallest mistake handling non-native species can be.

 We will conduct survey's of specific habitats in the Pamlico Sound, Outer Banks, and near shore sites along the Emerald coast of North Carolina. At the end of the summer we will participate in the annual Beaufort Lionfish roundup. This roundup is a regional event where hundreds of divers are dropped all over the Emerald coast from Cape Hatteras south to Atlantic Beach. We will scour each diveable wreck, man made reef, and ledge looking for and capturing Lionfish.

I will be using this site to chronicle the next 3 years of my life, and possibly more if anyone is interested! Yes I said 3 yrs, and yes I am a Junior, after getting an Associate in CJ and starting degrees in Aeronautical Engineering and Political Science I have a lot of credits to spare. Anyway check back often and I will keep you up to date on progress.