Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Yesterday, I went sledding with my friends on the golf course in the dark. It was a lot of fun. I haven't been sledding since my first year of college. I'm going to miss Woods Hole, despite some of the difficulties.
I found out yesterday that Roger is going to go to DC today and will be back Friday (a day I have taken off) and then will be leaving again next Monday for two weeks. When he returns, I will have four days left in the lab. I'm a bit frustrated by this because I will not have as much interaction with him during the wrapping up of my project as I had hoped. It basically means there is no potential for a publication at all, which is aggrivating because I feel I was lured here under false pretenses. Oh well, I have enjoyed the work.
Now I have to start looking for a new job! If only I could find a job that will pay me!

Here's a pic of me sledding (if you can find me--it's kind of small)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Last Trial!!

I just finished my last trial (number 90) and barring any unforeseen problems, I am done taking pictures (for now). Now to data analysis.
There is so much snow today--it snowed at least a foot last night. Everything is covered in a blanket of snow.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Lobster Babies!!

I forgot to mention the new addition to our upstairs lab. The lobster from downstairs is carrying lots of eggs so we have moved her upstairs to a tank by herself where we have warmed the water to make her think it is summer. Exciting!! I've never seen the eggs of a lobster before--it is very cool. She is fanning them with water.

Dreams and Work

Last night I dreamt I had a cuttlefish in my pocket and I went to a bar with my sister and a friend. I couldn't decide what to drink, and it was really perturbing. In the meantime, I took the cuttlefish out of my pocket and put it in a dish. The bartender put fresh water in the dish before I could stop him--and I watched as the cuttlefish jerked and struggled. I tried to add salt to the water...but it was too late. He died. I have lots of dreams about dying cuttlefish. I think it is a result of when those many cuttles died at once--it was pretty disturbing. I guess I have anxiety about any more of them dying.
This morning, the new guy told me he had to go to a meeting and could I feed the rest of the cuttlefish. I had just been thinking how I sort of missed feeding them in the mornings, so I agreed. It's crazy how big they have gotten!! And many of them are very aggressive now and they fight over their food, sometimes twisting violently to free themselves from the other cuttlefish arms enveloping them.
I talked to another intern here whom I like very much. She is working with tunicates and sea bass (not together). Her work sounds really fascinating and I always enjoy getting updates. The new project with the sea bass involves acoustics and a conditioned response (like Pavlov's dog). They are trying to see if they can train these fish to respond to a tone and congregate in one spot. It seems that they have been very successful thus far, but I am curious to see how long they can elicit that response if it is not repeated every day--how long is a fish memory? Also, what are the repercussions of doing this in the open ocean? Would it even work? It would be an interesting alternative to aquaculture.
When I talk to this other intern about her work, I can't help but wonder about the work that I am doing. Of course I am thoroughly enjoying working with the cuttlefish, but what are the results? Why are they important? Does it matter if I compile information that says cuttlefish often sit by a rock when in their vicinity?
I love science--I love talking about science, learning about science, finding out what other people are studying and what it can be used for. But, I think in the current time, with the abominable state of the planet, it is irresponsible to study science for science sake. I think it is important to have a result that can somehow lead to a greater benefit; that has an impact for the better. I know that is somewhat of a controversial argument, but I am feeling a bit useless right now. How am I contributing?
The data that I collect will be stored in a computer, perhaps to be published someday, or maybe not. A publication is looking less and less likely.
But, is what I am doing science? I take photos all day, it feels very tedious, I don't feel stimulated. I'm almost done with these trials and then will begin data analysis. I think once that starts, I will a bit better about what I am doing. But, it's hard not to question my choice to be a scientist--if this is what it is, is it really what I want? I love science, I always have--but maybe I have discovered I don't love science in the lab...I need the field work to balance me out. Sorry, I'm having a bit of an existential crisis on my blog right now--I'm sure I'll be over it soon.
Phew, sorry about that--I'm done. Back to the cuttles!! At least they are really cute :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Busy Busy Busy

I haven't posted in a while because there is so much to do! On Monday, a new animal care intern--or actually not an intern, because he gets paid--came in to take over my feeding and siphoning duties. I have been training him, which is taking some time, but when he is trained, I will have more time to do my experiments, which are numerous. I finally reached the halfway point today (45 trials!) and hopefully will get many more done in the coming days. I need to get the data so I can begin to analyze the results.
Unfortunately, I am having some trouble with the experiments as every time I set them up, the scientist I am working with finds a reason for me to redo or redesign them. I wish he would have said something before! When I initially worked with some of the other people here to design my experiment, everyone was more concerned with what the other interns were doing. I may have screwed myself by coming halfway between the regular internship periods.
Oh well, I will get it all done, I'm just not sure it will be the best experiment...or if they will be able to use the data at all. An extremely depressing prospect given the time I have spent working on it...for no money.
I think the cuttles miss me :) When I go by, they seem to respond and follow me---I think it is because I fed them for so long. But now, someone new will feed and clean them. I still get to spend time with them during the experiments, and I have noticed after several trials that many of them have specific idiosyncrasies. I am able to recognize them based on their behavior. Because they are so changing in there appearance, it is near impossible to tell them apart otherwise.
Alright, back to work!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Fungus strikes again!

Well, three of my new experimental animals have contracted a fungal infection, so I have to redo those trials and find new cuttlefish. Two of my animals inked on me yesterday, but I hope to have better luck today. I was wearing my new "Cephalopods" shirt though, which has now been baptized with cuttle ink :)
Otherwise, things are going pretty smoothly. The weather is beautiful and this morning when I crossed the bridge, the ocean smelled like grape bubbleicious...which was a little strange.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Polar Bear and Crab

I have a terrible cold. And because of this cold, I was unable to do the Polar Bear swim on New Years Day...So sad. I was really eager to do it--to somehow prove to myself that I could; tap into my FInnish roots.
Yesterday, when leaving the lab, I saw what I thought to be a large brown spider on the floor. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a crab. But, we have no crabs on the second floor! We used to when we fed them to the cuttlefish, but no longer! It's too cold to find them anymore...We have a few in the downstairs lab. I have a theory that she (I checked) managed to get in the elevator somehow...So, I decided to put her in a tank and decide what to do with her later. I didn't want to feed her to the cuttlefish after her heroic journey. But, I came in this morning, and someone else had fed her to the cuttlefish...Oh well, she had a wild ride.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


I'm doing experiments again, and all is well. However, 8 out of 10 of my experimental animals died!! Which means that I had to get 8 more and I thought, why not just start over? That's what I have been doing. Now I've got a lot to do! And it is freezing here...that's the extent of my update.