Archive for April 14th, 2008

a busy week!

such a busy week with all the proposal writing and running around- but now with our day off I have some time to type!

Got the rough draft of my proposal done- I’m officially going to try to study the masking of echolocation clicks by high frequency boat noise- I’m excited, but now I have to figure out just how I am going to do it. So far modeling seems to be a route, but I would love to find a way to actually document masking, which is the tricky part—how can you show a sound that is lost in another sound? Hopefully I can figure it out.

We also had a very interesting talk by Russel Barsh last week about the diet of juvenile salmon, but the talk was so much more than about that. It was more about ecology as a whole, and I found his philosophy inspiring about different disciplines working together. He mentioned how salmon scientists compete for funds with the whale scientists- how ridiculous! Obviously Orcas are affected by what the salmon are doing, and the salmon are affected by what they eat and their habitats- for instance a lot of the causes we are looking at that are causing the decline of the killer whales may not be so direct- it could lie within what those juveniles are eating (or not finding enough of anymore) and so if studies like that aren’t funded, we might never find the actual problem.

I guess I really liked his talk- as well as his thoughts about a grassroots way of changing the world- He tried to get into international policy and change, and finding it didn’t get him very far, now tries to just change the opinions of his local community. I must admit I’ve also come to the realization that people won’t ever really change unless something is affecting them- and as Russel says they must care about what they want to save- to feel a connection to it.

Ooh so much more happened this week! We also went to an oyster farm last week where we looked at the different invertebrates and the water quality of the area. We spent most of the time tromping around in the mudflats collecting shells and getting stuck- it was quite fun, even when I managed to fall right on my behind in the water. It was a really cool day all together – we saw these funny llamas with “punk” hairdos as Val described them on the drive up, and on the way home we stopped at the Center for Whale Research, which wasn’t like I imagined at all – I thought it would be a very official sort of complex, but it is a much more relaxed and wonderful place- with a lot of history and new technology all sitting in the same room, with lots of stories to share about them- and very interesting research! I was excited to see the tags they are using on transients in their winter migration- maybe those can someday be on the Southern Residents!

And last but not least- we spent the weekend in Vancouver! I was SO excited (thanks Scott! 🙂 We headed up there for the Northwest Student Chapter meeting, where we got to listen to a bunch of grad student’s research in the area. It was great to get a better perspective of grad school life and see students start to collaborate, as well as chat with some during the breaks- who knows at the moment UBC sounds pretty cool for grad school at the moment. Afterwards we headed downtown to our hostel, had some awesome Greek food (there are so many ethnic restaurants and culture in the area!), play cards on the beach watching the sunset, then walked around town – Dominique and I ended up finding a cool band called the “Soul Train Express” (sounds like a band I’d love right off the bat) – they were really cool and you could tell the lead singer was very into his music- it’s one of those bands you can only really enjoy live!

And on Sunday we went to the aquarium- something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile- and we got a behind the scenes tour as well- we got to look at the UBC’s research lab and what they do with the Stellar sea lions, and the adopt a whale office as well- looks like there are a lot of opportunities. And I loved the belugas! I feel like lately between the Student chapter meetings and my own personal debates that the importance of aquariums has been a repeating theme, but I definitely think Vancouver Aquarium does a good job in its presentation, research, and environmental concern. Overall I was in heaven in Vancouver exploring the city, aquarium, research, education, and of course- the mountains- I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of being around mountains!

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