Thursday, 30 April 2015

Vester Field Station and sampling - Florida

Vester Field Station

Top to bottom - The Vester field station,
The Osprey nest just beyond the stations jetties
A Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) roosting
on  navigation post near the the station,
A Manatee 
(Tichechus manatus) seen from the station
Apart for the first two nights of our trip the place we called home was Florida Gulf Coast University's Vester Field Station and this blog wouldn't be complete without giving it a special mention.

Donated to FGCU by Bob and Nancy Vester, who still live on site in their own apartment, the station that was once a waterfront motel is now a fully kitted out Marine and environment research station. It comes complete with Labs, boats and of course dorms.

As well as serving us well with a place to call home for the trip it also offered us some great wildlife spots. These included the Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) among other bird species roosting on posts just off shore and two resident nesting Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) .

But perhaps the best offering it had to give came on the evening of the 4th day when a Manatee (Tichechus manatus) and calf surfaced just a few feet from one of its viewing platforms. After hours of fruitless searching on our day trips, they turned up on the door step. It was wonderful to see.


Of course no wetlands field trip would be complete without collecting some soil samples to take home with us. After our Visit to FGCU on the Sixth day we returned to the station briefly to collect some tools before heading out to collect some samples.

Our mission was simple. Together collect 5 soil samples from areas of each mangrove tree species (red, black and white).  The nearby barefoot beach provided us with sample from two of the three species but for the black mangrove species we had to go further out to sea...

In perhaps the most exciting trip to collect samples to date we grabbed a couple of the stations canoes and paddled out to a mangrove island within the estuary. Here we found the last samples.

It was so different to be sampling within a mangrove swamp rather than a peat bog with perhaps the one of the most memorable differences being the fact my hand were warm enough to still have feeling in them afterwards!
Myself and fellow MSc students going out to samples in the mangroves 

Species List


Common Name
Latin Name
Brown Pelican
Pelecanus occidentalis
Pandion haliaetus


Common Name
Latin Name
Red Mangrove
Rhizophora mangle
Black Mangrove
Avicennia germinans
White Mangrove
Laguncularia racemosa


Common Name
Latin Name
Tichechus manatus

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