Sunday, December 30, 2007

vacation is over

I'm back from D.C. Vacation was lovely, except for getting sick, a cold sore IN my nose, and my computer dying. But otherwise, things are good. I'm in the lab, and the cuttlefish seem to be doing very well, despite last weeks tragic events. Over vacation, I got many updates on deaths, but never heard any good news, so I didn't want to post...
But, now that I am here and I see that many are still alive, I can tell you that I will continue to research and discuss them for the next two months.
Right now, I need to go home and take a nap before I go work at the bakery.

I thought you may appreciate this photo though--find the cuttlefish!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE NEWS!! Today, I slept in. I made it to work by 9 (usually here at 7:30) and fed the remaining hatchlings some shrimp. All was well in the world. I thought I would write a little note on my blog today saying that I am going home tomorrow. There was a delicious Christmas brunch and I had a good talk with Roger. But now... tragedy has struck. It started almost immediately after brunch, about four hours ago. We saw that one of our large cuttlefish had died. He ate this morning, looked very healthy, and then suddenly, dead. We looked around and saw that at least four others were dead, both hatchlings and juveniles. Then we saw that almost all of them looked pretty bad and were violently jetting water through their gills--something was wrong. The hypothesis at this point was that there was something bad in the water. The thing is, we have two separate tanks on two different loops of water for just that reason. But this was across the board, no discrimination between loops, tanks, or cuttlefish, just mass destruction. Which made us think maybe it was something in the food. But whatever killed them was acute--the time between when they looked bad and when they died was minimal, suggesting that it couldn't be food. Our vet believes that it is the water quality, and she is the top of her field, so I am inclined to believe her. It's been very perplexing, and disheartening. Four of my experimental animals are dead, meaning that I will now have to run all my trials over again--which is definitely a bummer, but nothing compared to the fact that at least 20 animals are dead. We have changed the water and they are looking a little better, but some of the larger ones are still dying. I really hope they begin to thrive again soon, otherwise...well, you can guess. It's so sad to watch them--I've really become attached. My little cuttles!!! Please LIVE!! There is ink everywhere.... Needless to say, it has been a very busy day and everyone is running around. What a hectic last day before vacation!
On another note, at least the people from the New York Times came yesterday... And, no, Mom, I will not be featured in the New York Times! Although, I did talk about my experiments!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


A skate died yesterday. It was a terrible sight. It had started deteriorating over the weekend. When we picked it up in the net, it just disintegrated. Awful smell--AWFUL!! I can't even describe it.
I didn't kill the cuttlefish over the weekend (yay!) although they still look pretty bad. I wonder if this fungal infection is curable or we are just prolonging their pain...
So many skate eggs--today I had to label 14 of them!

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Today I came into the lab to treat the nautilus and two more cuttlefish who have fungal infections. The nautilus seem to be getting better. The cuttlefish on the other hand, look terrible. I really didn't want to treat them because I don't want to be known as a cuttlefish killer! But, it's my job, so I treated them. They are alive for the moment, but I'm not sure for how long. They look awful, and this time, I don't think it is my fault.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Today I am annoyed. My pants don't fit. I blame the dryer. All my clean clothes are about 3/4 smaller than when they went in...I'm not sure if the dryer is fully to blame...I think it may be the bakery. Today begins the end of dessert!
Yesterday it snowed. It was a beautiful snow storm, until I had to walk in the hail to get to Pie in the Sky to take over the shifts of people unable to drive in the inclement weather. But, it was perfect snow ball snow!! Just beautiful. Unfortunately, I brought two pairs of shoes to WoHo (Woods Hole)--my crocs, and my tennis shoes (about 6 years old...). So, walking in the snow is not always easy. I think I may invest in some boots for Christmas.
I'm very happy it is Friday :) I am hoping I may finally get to sleep--but I'm not sure, there may be plans I can't say no to (I know, I know Dad, "to which I can't say no")!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


There were five more baby dogfish born overnight. I let them go this morning. Here are some photos.

Here's the bakery I work at :)

Dogfish dreams

Today was an extremely long day...I woke up at 4:30am to be at the bakery by 5. When I left the house, the wind was roaring--I bundled up, but it was all I could do to keep on the sidewalk (I did get blown off course a few times). I finished up at 9am and headed over to the lab. I forgot to mention that yesterday morning, while feeding the dogfish, I noticed that they had given birth to six babies! All six were extremely healthy, and had no yolks (the life support in the dogfish womb) so they were ready to take on the world. Apparently, all the dogfish babies that are born there have died in the past, so they wanted to euthanize them. I convinced them to set up a tank though, and another intern and I took over responsibility. I was so attached! I checked on them several times yesterday and today to make sure they were ok. Today however, they were not looking very good--not eating...The nutrients they get from the yolks are supposed to keep them going for a while after birth, but a few of them seemed to be weakening, and force feeding just seemed to stress them. I was getting very concerned. Eventually, I realized that there was really nothing I could do if they weren't going to eat the food I could provide them with and I requested to take them outside to the ocean to let them try to make it on their own. It was really quite emotional--like Free Willie--the other intern sang the Micheal Jackson song...
I hope they make it...I grew very fond of them for only knowing them for a short time. It feels like it was longer. I really felt a special bond with them--I was responsible for them...for a day.
Anyway, I spent most of the day doing animal care for the cuttlefish. It seems that since winter is coming, we will no longer be able to feed the hatchlings amphipods because they bury into the sand in winter. If we can't feed them amphipods, we need to get them to start eating fish and squid soon, or they will die. There are two other interns here with me and they will only be here for three more weeks. Since they need to get their experiments done in that time, it is up to me to get the hatchings to eat. That is all well and good, and I do enjoy taking care of the cuttlefish, but I am feeling a little overwhelmed since I need to get my experiments done too, and after December, I will only have about a month left. Unfortunately, the ball didn't get rolling on experiments until recently, and things don't seem to be going my way... Also, since I have volunteered to do image analysis too, I need time to analyze. I think I may have taken too much on, but I didn't realize how much animal care would be involved. It seems that over the summer, there was an animal care intern who took care of the cuttlefish, but now it is up to the current interns (who signed on for an experimental internship, not a husbandry one...). But I am enjoying myself. It is just a matter of getting everything done, while finishing up my applications, and keeping sane.
I finished at the lab at three and then headed back to the bakery to work until 9pm. Now, time for bed. Sweet dreams of dogfish and tentacles.

Monday, December 3, 2007


Yesterday I held a giant squid eyeball in my bare hands. Architeuthis (or the giant squid) is enormous! Unfortunately, most of the eyeballs that have been collected are from dead animals, and when these squid die, it takes them a very long time to reach the surface. Once they have reached the surface, their eyes are basically mush. So this is a very exciting one--it came from a live squid! And Roger is now writing a paper about it.
I've got to get some experiments done today, so I should get started.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Tonight we had our first snow in the Cape! It was gorgeous, and I tried to take a didn't come out so well, but I will post it tomorrow. On Saturday, I went to the Knob (nob?), a beach sort of close by. It was beautiful, and I saw the most amazing sunset I have ever seen. I thought I had seen some nice sunsets in Zanzibar and Costa Rica, but the ones on the Cape are just magnificent! It was extremely windy though, and I thought I was going to get frostbite on my ears.
I saw John McCutcheon tonight :) We used to listen to him as kids. It was great. OOooh I'm tired. Time for bed