Moreton Bay keeps boring lectures away

A bit later in March, I went with my marine biology class on a field trip to North Stradbroke Island and Moreton Island to lay on the beach all day do some experiments with ocean life (seriously though, we did do a lot of beach-laying, which was fabulous. I love the relaxed Australian lifestyle)! After a quick walk around Moreton Bay, where UQ has a private research station (super nice), we waded out into the water with a huge 50-meter net. With it, we caught different fish and stingrays! After that, the class was assigned to design and carry out an experiment in small groups, then present it to the class.

 

The view from our classroom at the UQ research station on Moreton Bay. NICE.
The view from our classroom at the UQ research station on Moreton Bay. NICE. 
A clownfish in the aquarium at the research station. I’ve never had a class pet like this before.
A clownfish in the aquarium at the research station. I’ve never had a class pet like this before.
Going out to catch sea critters with my classmates!
Going out to catch sea critters with my classmates!
WE CAUGHT STINGRAYS.
WE CAUGHT STINGRAYS.

My awesome group and I decided to examine the mangrove crabs we found scuttling around the island and test them to see if their size had any effect on whether they were faster/slower to react to an incoming predator. After getting up at 5am (EEESH) the second morning of our Moreton trip, we collected crabs and brought them back to the station to test their speed when we imitated a predator approaching from above. As it turns out (in case you were curious) there’s no correlation, but it didn’t matter. We had a ton of fun making obnoxious bird noises in the research station to get our crabby friends to scurry to a makeshift shelter. Yay science!

I’m not a morning person, but Moreton Bay at 5am was quite a pretty sight.
I’m not a morning person, but Moreton Bay at 5am was quite a pretty sight.
The crab-gathering crew!
The crab-gathering crew!
One of little guys that we set out to catch.
One of little guys that we set out to catch.
It concerns me that this is one of the biggest books in the UQ research station library.
It concerns me that this is one of the biggest books in the UQ research station library.
Doing some experiments with the crabs.
Doing some experiments with the crabs.
The sunset from the shores of Moreton Bay (the dips you see in the sand when the tide is low are stingray pits! They make them when they feed on buried organisms).
The sunset from the shores of Moreton Bay (the dips you see in the sand when the tide is low are stingray pits! They make them when they feed on buried organisms). 

After we presented the results of our experiment to the class, the entire group drove to the opposite shore of North Stradbroke Island for some bushwalking and swimming. Such beautiful views!

Connecting with the essence of nature (or something).
Connecting with the essence of nature (or something).
Our view as we bushwalked around North Stradbroke Island.
Our view as we bushwalked around North Stradbroke Island.
The boys are ready for the beach!
The boys are ready for the beach!

A tropical beachside classroom is the best kind of classroom. Take note, Madison. In the meantime, after returning to Brisbane from our weekend trip, I talked with my parents about spring break trip options. After chatting with them as well as my UW-Madison comrades, I decided to book a trip to a place I’d never in my wildest dreams think I’d be going…

NEW ZEALAND.