so my research is on the coral communities surrounding Sharp Island, which is north east of hk. the island itself is protected by the government, but the waters around it are pretty much a free for all, which means that the coral that is still alive is in pretty rough shape. ive chosen 5 sites around the island, and am going to do what is called a photo-quadrat survey along a transect. basically means that im setting up 3 lines of rope, 25 meters long each, perpendicular to the shoreline. then i swim along the rope, and set down the photo-quadrat every 5 meters and take a picture. a photo-quadrat is just a .5meter by .5meter outline of a square that has a pyramid shaped camera holder on top. so i can set it down, and the underwater camera takes a photo of an exact square of coral. then im going to analyze the pictures in the lab, by estimating how much of the quadrat is covered in coral, and also identify the species of coral in each quadrat. then i take measurements of the degree of wave exposure at each site, and am going to see if wave exposure has any influence on the amount of coral cover, or species diversity at each site.
right now however, my research has come to a standstill, because ive been waiting for the workshop to build a quadrat for me out of pvc pipe, which in normal life would take like maybe an hour, but has taken more than a week. in the meantime ive been doing a ton of research and writing all the parts of my paper that i can without any actual data…. introduction, literature reviews, methods and materials etc. its been rough because this is the part of doing research that i hate the most! also, because no one has ever done research on this island, i have no papers to pull any type of solid facts from, so ive been pulling info from all over the place, and its kind of a mess that im not sure how to fix. but i think readers will be lenient given this is the first research done on the coral communities of this particular island. im just excited to get back into the field!
but, as a result of this lull, ive gotten the worst parts of the paper out of the way, and have gotten to see some parts of hk i havnt seen before because i dont have to go into the lab every day.
its really hard to be a vegetarian in this city, so ive been buying fruits and veggies from whats called a “wet market” which is an outdoor market that sells literally everything edible. when i go i have to be careful not to go to the meat section or else i will vomit. but its always a very cool experience to gosee all the weird things that i never knew were edible!
last weekend my hiking club went to abandoned villages in the mountains above the new terratories of hk. really creepy! some of the houses still have pictures hanging on the walls, as well as playgrounds covered in overgrown vines, and apparently some houses still have coffins in them. the hike leader told us that the first time he came to these villages, about 20 years ago, he even found human skeletons inside some of the houses. awesome.
every night at 8pm there is a huge light show involving all the skyscrapers along victoria harbor, which is accompanied by music and lasers. i saw it for the first time last night and probably have never seen such a blatant misuse of electricity in my life. but i guess anything for tourists!
all in all, still having a wonderful time in this big crazy city!