As history buffs packed the Tampa Convention Center today for AP US History exam grading, a different academic subject was being studied just outside our facility—led by scientists from the Smithsonian.
About three months ago, a team of scientists from the Smithsonian traveled to our facility to lower plastic panels into the water right off of our convention center boating docks. These plastic panels are designed to detect various species of invertebrates as they settle within the crevices.
The purpose of this project is to identify and measure the population of non-native invertebrates throughout the bay. Similar panels were placed at 10 different sites in the region to collect additional samples. Today, these panels were removed from the water in front of our facility to be transported back to a laboratory for testing. While the team conducts their examination here in Florida, they will be operating out of a lab at Eckerd College.
This sample collection is part of a larger ongoing project which collects samples every 3-5 years. Once the samples are thoroughly examined, the team will return to the Smithsonian with their results.