Field Trip to New Bedford

August 18, 2009 at 11:34 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,

Hey guys! My name is Elisha Garcia, most call me Eli. I’m a two week intern at WHSA.

So far it has been great. From orientation, animal training at the Buttonwood Park Zoo, to today which was the tour of the New Bedford Port Agent’s office lead by Katie Almeida.

Fresh of the boat in New Bedford

Fresh off the boat in New Bedford

She gave us a detailed tour and explained in great depth what makes the Port tick. She also explained how it is such a crucial yet obvious part of the process for obtaining much of our seafood.

Cold and stinky, but educational!

Cold and stinky, but educational!

Half of the building we toured was a huge freezer for fish and shellfish, so we all had to wear some sort of hat and a sweatshirt. Drew, another two week intern decided to make everyone else jealous by wearing an extremely warm beanie.

We tested out the sleeping quarters of a replica whaling ship at the New Bedford Whaling Museum

We tested out the sleeping quarters of a replica whaling ship at the New Bedford Whaling Museum

After our tour of the Port, Katie took us to the old fish auction site in what seemed to be just an old parking lot by the sea. When I learned how important that old parking lot was to the fishing industry, I was blown away. It can easily be compared to the stock exchange at Wall Street in New York. From there we made our way down to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, where we had a guided tour waiting for us. We caught a glimpse of how important the whaling industry was to the port of New Bedford and other places like it from a short movie before hand. From there we learned about the men who sought whales for years on end along with their equipment and how they lived on the ship. After our long day of walking and absorbing so much information, we returned back to our home base at the aquarium. Eli

Understanding Fish Populations

August 17, 2009 at 11:02 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
Tags: , , ,

Hello readers,

It’s Josh.

Today, we were given a lecture by Larry Alade, about his job at NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) National Marine Fisheries Service. It was interesting how his background in computer science, biology, and math came together in fisheries science: he uses mathematical models to predict the population of fish. This involves in-depth knowledge about the behavior of a specific fish: what they eat, if they migrate, their predator/prey relationships, etc. He uses tracking devices to study their migration patterns and how that affects the fish stocks. This information on fish is used to assess how populations are doing, their movement and behavior, and what the possible effect fishing will have on them.

Larry Alade shows us how to tag a monkfish

Larry Alade shows us how to tag a monkfish

Larry did a fish tagging demonstration for us with monkfish and flounder. To tag a monkfish, he made a small cut in the skin of the fish and inserted a bullet shaped tag between the skin and the muscle. To prevent infections and to keep the tag in place, he stitched up the incision. These tags will take the temperature and pressure readings of the water while the fish is swimming every ten minutes, for three years. To make a tagged fish more obvious to fishermen, they have yellow markers protruding from the fish, attached to the spine. The fish were surprisingly calm throughout all of this and barely moved during the whole five minute procedure.

Thanks for reading!

Josh

Rehabing a Wolffish

August 3, 2009 at 5:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
Tags: , ,

Hi. My name is Drew McCabe, and I am a two week intern here at the WHSA.

Administering anesthesia to the wolffish

Administering anesthesia to a wolffish

Today we operated on wolffish’s eye because it was swollen. We got the fish out of his tank and immediately gave him anesthesia. Once the wolffish was completely sedated, we made an incision behind his eye to drain any air or built up fluids behind its eye. But what we found were large amounts of puss in an abscess, which could cause this fish pain and stress. During the entire operation Dr. Sims and Dr. Hancock removed the puss and put pain killers into the fish while Megan-Elizabeth pushed water with anesthesia through its mouth and gills so the fish would stay relaxed, asleep, and most importantly alive throughout the operation. So after about ten minutes of flushing out and draining the puss from underneath his eye, they went over and weighed the wolffish, and he weighed 17.066 grams after the surgery. They weighed him so that they could figure out what dosages of medications to give the fish.  After they weighed the wolffish, they were finally able to wake him up and put him in a safe tank where he could recover. Rachel, Dr. Sims, and Dr. Hancock decided not to close up the incision but to put antibiotics on it and let whatever infection was left drain out before the incision healed. The vets also placed the wolffish on antibiotics for 2 weeks so that he can fight the infection better.

That is one part of my day here at WHSA.

Drew

Meet the Newest Interns at the Aquarium

July 31, 2009 at 11:25 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags:
Veteran intern Josh, bffl Emma, and I are ready for scavenger hunt adventures.

Veteran intern Josh, bffl Emma, and I are ready for scavenger hunt adventures.

Today is our second day of our two week excursion into the water world of the Woods Hole Science Aquarium, woot woot! Emma has come all the way from Pittsford, NY just to meet other awesome high school interns that are just as crazy about the ocean as she is! And while Emma’s commitment to the program is pretty cool (she travels over an hour every morning from where she is staying with her hip grandma!) it doesn’t quite compare to Ann. Ann was famous even before she arrived. She’s this year’s exotic and has been dubbed “Anna from Montana.” We’re refraining from the Hannah Montana references, but it’s difficult.  We’re also joined this week by our new friends and fellow interns Eli (from Lakeville, MA), Julie (from Martha’s Vineyard), Drew (a local from Falmouth). Oh, and then there’s me! (I’m Julia, btw.)

Emma and I in front of the WHOI Exhibit Center

Emma and I in front of the WHOI Exhibit Center

Right, so Emma and I are totally bffls now (that stands for Best Friends For Life, in case you aren’t up with our hip teenage slang.) We bonded over yesterday’s scavenger hunt adventure around Woods Hole village, and we learned some great stuff on our little adventure. There is exactly one street in this town and everything is on it. First we went to the MBL (Marine Biological Laboratories) Visitor Center. We learned that squid’s axons are bigger than human ones, so scientists are using them to study new ways to treat Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and other diseases. . . pretty impressive. Also, we don’t really understand it, but we read some signs about the interdependency and fragile balance of the local ecosystems and basically concluded that septic systems stink. (Hopefully not literally, but we aren’t going to check that.)

Second on our list of stops was the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Exhibit Center. It looks like a church, but it’s not. There are two levels to the center and when you go downstairs you are supposedly “underwater,” so there are bottoms to icebergs hanging out of the ceiling and fish on the walls. Emma’s favorite exhibit was the Titanic discovery. We found out about the recovery of the wreck and learned the story of the day the expedition returned to Woods Hole with its findings- there were tons of helicopters and news stations everywhere. It was a pretty big deal. In the center there is a life-size model of the Alvin which was one of the submersibles that was on the mission.

We could have been the ones to discover the Tiatanic if we'd had one of these.

We could have been the ones to discover the Tiatanic if we'd had one of these.

So, that was yesterday. Today, Emma and I met Meghan-Elizabeth and Ann feeding the fish, and then we fed the Sea Robins, and they jumped up to eat the halibut, soaking us all. The fish also eat gel. I’m told it is made up of ground fish, spinach and carrots – it sounds like dinner at my house😦.

Emma serves up a meal only the fish could love.

Emma serves up a meal only the fish could love.

Once we had fed all the fish, Rachel gave us a great presentation on animal husbandry and training. Following the presentation, Rachel took us to the 11:00 seal feeding at WHSA. We got to watch from inside the seal exhibit- LuSeal and Bumper are so playful and cute and wet-horse-like. (Those adjectives are compliments of the lovely Jack and Josh who have apparently been pent up in the aquarium too long.) We learned that harbor seals take five years to mature (that’s why Bumper is still so little!) and that in captivity they will live 35 years instead of 25 in the wild.

Now we are just hanging around the aquarium, getting introduced to all the little not-so-furry-or-fluffy animals in the petting zoo…aka the touch tank. There are spider crabs and horseshoe crabs (but the later is actually more closely related to spiders…go figure.) Emma’s favorite touch-tank activity is cuddling moon snails. My favorite touch tank activity is coloring on the “Draw what you sea” board. Just made that pun up, by the way, so now Emma and I are going to go change the sign!

Bye!

Jack Updates Us on the Squid, Hangs with the Seals, and Tours the Cramer

July 30, 2009 at 3:15 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,

So hello again.

There are baby squid in here, I promise!  They're just too small to really see.

There are baby squid in here, I promise! They're just too small to really see.

Two days ago the first of our four strands of squid eggs hatched. We didn’t count how many there were, but it looked like more than 50. We dropped in some thawed daphnia to see if they would eat any, but as I suspected they had no interest. Luckily, later that day the Marine Resource Center was kind enough to give us some plankton from their last tow, so we had something to feed the babies.

Unfortunately, today when we checked to see how the babies were doing, we saw that they were all gone. They had been sucked through the mesh that we covered the filter with to prevent this very problem. Apparently it wasn’t fine enough. We now have a finer, spongier, protective coating on the filter, so hopefully our next round will have better luck.

LuSeal keeping me company while I scrub algae.

LuSeal keeping me company while I scrub algae.

On Monday we were joined by the two week interns. While they were getting introduced to the aquarium and the staff, Josh and I got to go into the seal tank with college intern Stephanie and aquarium staff Kristy and scrubbed algae. Now, scrubbing algae doesn’t sound fun, but it was awesome to get down there and hang out with our seals, LuSeal and Bumper, who seemed pretty happy to see us.

The next day all nine of us interns as well as Kristy and Meghan-Elizabeth (college intern) got a tour of the Corwith Cramer, a sailing ship that brings students out for a semester at sea. Meghan-Elizabeth is an alumna of the ship. Jonathon (the first mate) showed us the ship as well as all of their super spiffy scientific gear. It definitely sounds like something I would like to do in the future, and I know I’m not the only one in the group who loved the idea of going out to sea and working on a scientific sailing vessel.

Jonathan and a gaggle of interns aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer

Jonathan and a gaggle of interns aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer

Today the two week interns went to the Buttonwood Park Zoo with Rachel, Kristy, and Meghan-Elizabeth. That left Josh, Liz, Alecia, Elizabeth (from Martha’s Vineyard), George, and me to run the aquarium for the day. I don’t think anyone except George realized how much Meghan-Elizabeth does all the time at the aquarium while we are trying to help, and today we got to see first hand how hard her job is. I also did my third seal talk today. The first two better went better– LuSeal wasn’t really cooperating well today which makes talking about it kind of annoying.

Jack

Visting the Grey Lady

July 28, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: ,

Dear readers,

Wind on the island was pretty intense, too!

The wind was pretty intense on the island, too!

Yesterday, we took a ferry to Nantucket. Not a wimpy slow ferry, but a high speed catamaran. The ride there and back was pretty fun. I don’t know how fast we were going, but it felt like 50 mph. When we stood outside, the wind and ocean water spraying in our faces was like a hurricane. It was intense.

The purpose of our trip was to see how aquariums similar to the Woods Hole Science Aquarium run. We went to the Maria Mitchell Association Aquarium. It was a remarkably small aquarium, but they had a lot going on. They had two rooms full of slick tanks, and two touch tanks. Particularly, they had a lot of scallops and shellfish which we didn’t have.

Entrance to the very quaint Maria Mitchell Association Aquarium

Entrance to the very quaint Maria Mitchell Association Aquarium

Later we went on a marine ecology walk with the aquarium. Apparently, our own collecting walks were based off of their original idea. The setup was basically, the leaders used a seine net to catch fish in the water twice, and the kids caught whatever they could out of the net. Then, in the end, a leader examined and explained the organisms that we had discovered. This was interesting: not just the information itself, but the way the leader captured the attention of the audience and taught about the organisms.

For lunch we went to Something Natural, an awesome sandwich place. We met the owner, and most of us got curried chicken sandwiches. They were fabulous.

In the afternoon we went to the Maria Mitchell Natural Science Museum. There we got a tour, and learned about the geography of Nantucket, and how it shapes the distribution of flora and fauna on the island. They do a lot of interaction with the public and research for a small facility. At the end, we played a sort of ecosystem Jenga; it was so corny that it was fun to play.

Ecosystem Jenga-- so corny it's cool

Ecosystem Jenga-- so corny it's almost cool

So, that was our day on Nantucket.

Keep reading our blogs, and we’ll keep you updated!

Josh

An Intern out of Water

July 24, 2009 at 4:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
Tags: , ,

Hello readers!

My name is Joshua Einis. I’m a senior next year at Sharon high School in (surprise) Sharon, MA. I am a 5 week intern at the Woods Hole Science Aquarium.

Last Friday we went to Buttonwood Park Zoo, where we saw many animal training sessions. In the car ride to the zoo, Rachel (the senior aquarist) taught us the basics of animal training. The steps are as follows: First, the trainer gets the animal comfortable with being around humans.  Then, a “bridge” is established by pairing food with a whistle blast.  Next, the animals can get used to touch or tactile attention (if not a dangerous animal). Each day, the trainer inches closer to the animal with their hand all the while making sure the animal is comfortable and calm. There has to be trust built. Then the animal is trained to target. The trainers hold out a stick with a ball on the end, and the animals are trained to follow the ball with their nose. This action is then used as a building block to other actions. Using the targeting they can teach the animal to spin, slide onto a scale, move into a kennel and other behaviors related to movement.

First, we saw a bear training session. The bears were only two feet away in their off exhibit holding area, so it was CRAZY seeing the big lumps move up down and all around for the trainers. They were huge and furry, yet submissive like a pet – although they should never be thought of as such. Apparently, any animal can be trained using the same principles of psychology (humans too).

Buttonwood park zoo staff training a bear

Buttonwood park zoo staff training a bear

The second animal we saw trained was an otter. Otters are notoriously vicious and agile, often running from land into water and back without stopping. They have been known to go from calm to nasty in half a second.  The trainer used unprotected free contact while training the otter.  This method is not practiced in all zoos.

Training an otter can be tricky

Training an otter can be tricky

Next we saw the seals. There were three seals in their habitat. The youngest and most eager (and best trained) was Blue, who jumped through four hoops for us.

Some other animals we saw being trained were wolves, birds … even a bison. Watching a huge bison 5 times the size of a human being trained the same way as one trains a bird is astonishing.

The best part of the visit had to do with animal enrichment. In this particular zoo, the trainers take the elephants out of their exhibits for exercise and a change of scenery (only when the zoo is closed to the public). At one point, when we were watching the seals, I glanced behind me and there, standing in the grass a couple hundred feet behind me, stood two elephants. Eventually, we got to go over and pet the elephants. There is a certain amount of awe that one feels standing below an elephant: after all, it could knock you out with its muscular trunk or crush you with a misplaced footstep or just by sitting down. Interestingly enough elephants are very hairy. From a distance they look just like they have flat leathery skin, but in reality, their skin feels bristly like a large leathery toothbrush, with bristly tufts protruding every inch or so.

Liz, Jack, and I -- up close and personal with an elephant

Liz, Jack, and I -- up close and personal with an elephant

So, yeah, that was our Friday.

See you later,

Josh

Liz Takes Us Behind the Scenes

July 22, 2009 at 2:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Hi everybody

Yesterday was a very busy and exciting day. You would think a rainy day at the aquarium would be boring, but it’s just not.

Action shot of Josh feeding the fish

Action shot of Josh feeding the fish

To start off, we fed all of the fish, as we always do on Tuesdays, and most of them were very jumpy and hungry. The fish in one tank were so anxious to get their food that they splashed all of us in their pursuit of the best pieces of fish and gel– food that we feed the fish, a mixture of vegetables and ground up fish… very nutritious.😀 (There is a little part of me that is tempted to try it, but I haven’t given into the temptation yet. There is another part of me that thinks something about slimy raw fish isn’t very appetizing.)

Here I am, giving the seal talk to visitors at the tank

Here I am, giving the seal talk to visitors at the tank

Then, at 11 o’clock, we did the first seal feeding/training session of the day, as usual. EXCEPT– this time, there was something new!! I was the one who got to give the talk yesterday.  I explained to the public who our seals are, why they are not releasable, what kind of training we do with them, etc. It was awesome.

Then, while people went on the collecting walk, Jack and I stayed back to sit at the touch tank. The aquarium was very busy because yesterday was a rainy day.

We had 1486 visitors, total. I helped Don at the desk for awhile. I spoke to visitors from many different states and countries, and I gave out a lot of stamps, of course.

At the front desk with Don.  He should have a stamp too, don't you think?

At the front desk with Don. He should have a stamp too, don't you think?

I stayed at the desk until 4 o’clock when Jack did the daily seal talk. He did an excellent job.

Jack gave the seal talk in yesterday afternoon

Jack giving the seal talk in the afternoon

Later that night, the interns and Meghan-Elizabeth (a college intern at the aquarium, as well as one of my favorite people in the world) went to the Barnstable County Fair, thankfully the weather held off for us.

Talk to you soon!

Jack on the Art of Camouflage

July 21, 2009 at 9:09 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments
Tags: , ,

Hi, it’s Jack again.

Today we learned about the art of camouflage from Dr. Roger Hanlon who studies cephalopods at the Marine Resources Center. He talked to us about some of the research that he has done on cuttlefish. Specifically, he focused on how they are able to change color and shape as well as how they decide which of their surroundings to imitate to be the best hidden.

Observing cuttlefish (sepia officinalis)

Observing cuttlefish (sepia officinalis)

He also showed us where the scientists study sepia officinalis (the type of cuttlefish that they observe), and he told us a little bit about how they care for their 10 legged friends. Since cuttlefish aren’t found in America, they get theirs from the other side of the Atlantic. They won’t require new test subjects until after around four breeding cycles when the rate of inbreeding can start to affect their fish.

Back in our own aquarium I noticed that my “squidlets” have developed a lot over the weekend. They now have visible eyes as well as pigment spots on their backs. They have also started to move about in their egg cases. I tried to take some photos, but

If you look closely, you can see the squid eggs are developing

If you look closely, you can see the squid eggs are developing

they are still a bit too small to get a good picture. Once they finally hatch Stephanie and I will go out into the harbor and catch some plankton. Our tiny squid are predators so they need something that will move for them to go after. Once they start eating, we will slowly wean them off of live food and onto frozen which will make feeding them a lot easier later in their lives.

Jack Tries His Hand at Growing Sea Urchins and Squid

July 17, 2009 at 4:46 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
Tags: , ,

Hi,

I’m Jack, I’m 16, and I go to Horace Mann School in the Bronx. I am one of the three 5-week interns here at the aquarium.

Yesterday, we went to the Marine Resources Center where we got a tour of their tanks. They have a lot of pretty cool stuff, but my favorite was the squid. Just before we left, Stephanie Hayes (one of the college interns working at the aquarium with us) and I asked Ed Enos if we could have some of their extra squid eggs. He approved, and Stephanie and I are now taking care of our little eggs in a tank. Hopefully, sometime in the next two weeks they should hatch.

These squid eggs should hatch in two weeks

These squid eggs should hatch in two weeks

He also gave us two sea urchins to fertilize some eggs in a beaker. The special thing about sea urchin eggs is that they are transparent, so scientists (or students like us) can look at them under a microscope and see how they are developing. So, if all works out we should see some growth soon!

We'll use this sea urchin to fertilize eggs in a beaker

We'll use this sea urchin to fertilize eggs in a beaker

Tomorrow we will be going to the Buttonwood Park Zoo where we get to learn about animal training with Rachel (our animal expert). While we do get to see our seals being trained and fed every day, it’s pretty exciting to learn more about different kinds of animals and how they are taught.

Oh, and today we setup our fish traps just outside in the water, so hopefully we will start catching some cool things for the aquarium. We’ll see tomorrow if anything is interested in those yummy fish heads I put into the traps this afternoon. Also, we are going to start our collecting walks in the marsh again, which I really like doing, so next week should be fun.

On Monday we are going to get to meet Roger Hanlon and see his lab. Roger Hanlon studies cuttlefish (my favorite marine animal), and he will tell us a bit about what he studies and what he does in his lab at the Marine Biological Laboratory.

That’s about it for now!

Jack

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.