Quantitative Underwater Ecological Surveying Techniques
QUEST is a course offered at the University of Hawaii-Hilo campus which focuses on ecological monitoring of coral reefs using SCUBA. The course takes place during the last two weeks of May (May 16-28 in 1998). Students stay at the University of Hawaii at Hilo dorms for 4 days of course work, move to Puako on the South Kohala coast for five days of field work and data collection, and then return to Hilo for four days of data analysis, report writing, and presentations. Students involved in QUEST need to have current University of Hawai'i Scientific Diver authorization valid throughout QUEST. Subject to approval by the University of Hawaii Diving Safety Officer, students holding active diving certification through an AAUS affiliated institution may qualify as UH divers through institutional reciprocity. Scuba tanks and sampling equipment will be provided, but students will need to provide their own basic equipment including: BC, regulator, mask, snorkel, fins, weight belt, compass, wetsuit, booties, and gloves. Students will also need to provide a sleeping bag, sleeping pad and linens for their entire stay during QUEST. An application for the QUEST program is included in this package. QUEST is composed of two different courses, QUEST (Mare 264) and Advanced QUEST (Mare 364).
Basic QUEST(Mare 264):
Students who enroll in QUEST will learn commonly utilized nearshore underwater ecological surveying techniques and then apply them in the field using SCUBA as a research tool. Students will review identification of common Hawaiian reef invertebrates, fishes and seaweeds, and will also learn basic reef mapping techniques and sediment analysis. Lectures will cover basics in experimental design, statistical analysis, spreadsheet design, data reduction and graphic representation. Finally, students will be introduced to a variety of surveying techniques including: visual surveying of fishes, surveying of benthic invertebrates, and video and still photographic surveying of fish and invertebrates. Students will then spend five days in the field utilizing scuba to survey the coral reefs off Puako, Hawai'i during a series of day and night dives. Data will then be reduced, analyzed , and presented in an oral and written report. This class affords students a unique opportunity to learn and apply diving research techniques in a truly beautiful environment.
Advanced QUEST (Mare 364):
Students who have completed QUEST (Mare 264) with at least a "B" grade may apply for admission to Advanced QUEST (Mare 364). Applicants who are accepted will be assigned as dive team leaders for the basic QUEST course. In this leadership role, Advanced QUEST students will work with the dive master to additionally monitor the safe diving practices of each member of their team. These students will supervise the dive team's collection of data in the field as well as its reduction and analysis and will anchor the team's written and oral presentations. Team leaders will also assist in training students in identification of organisms.