Brendan O'Brien helped propogate seagrass

Journal: Lab Assistant at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Brendan O’Brien

            I had the great experience of working the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. I worked with Jason Purdy and Marshall Chislom at the 160W Government street lab/office. These gentlemen are in the business of regenerating sea grasses around the gulf coast and many other conservation efforts as well as permit enforcement. The sea grasses help support ecosystems and prevent erosion and thus are the reason for their efforts. The purpose of my visit was to assist them with the different seagrass projects they are currently working on. The first project was to change the water on the Thalassic t. species of sea grass. Their experiment had 2 batches one cleansed with ethyl alcohol and one with bleach. We were to drain the tubes, fill them with their respective sterilizing agent for 30 seconds, drain again and fill them with a solution of water containing penicillin streptomycin for 10 minutes, and drain them again and fill them with salt water. This experiment was not going as well as they had hoped, the seedlings weren’t responding as they usually would, exhibiting odd behavior such as being dormant when believed to be dead. 
 The second task I had was really interesting, I was to help Jason subdivide and propagate the Ruppi m. species of sea grass. Essentially this process I like cloning. You are to cut the plants every 3-4 nodes to ensure new growth, the cuttings are placed into growth media which prevents root growth but not tissue growth, labeled and return back into the grow room. These grasses come from different local areas, and will be returned with stronger more diverse grasses as Jason explained to me.
This was much easier to relate to course work, as we learned how important certain elements are in ecosystems, this sea grass is a huge player. It can prevent erosion which will lead to preferred levels of feedback. It can create a habitat for the sea life as many of these beds have disappeared over the years.

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