Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Danger! Science ahead!

Oh the things we do for science! In our pursuit of documenting biodiversity we often throw caution to the wind and end up a little worse for the wear. Getting bashed in the surf on a coral reef or getting mauled by thorny plants is all in a days work, and frankly helps us feel a little more like Indiana Jones and a little less like the nerds we are. I failed to get a picture of the really impressive bruise I received while diving, but I didn't miss the opportunity to photograph John's legs after he came down from the mountain.

Some of the equipment we use can also be cause for consternation. The battery for the underwater vacuum had a little melting issue. So we did what any normal person would do and went to the hardware store, busted out a soldering kit and set about to make the repairs to an 18 volt battery. Jenna and Gary undertook this project with great success as previous vacuum footage can attest.

Some of the animals are also unappreciative of our attention. After carving two very large, very parasitic snails out of this sea cucumber's body wall, he repaid me by unleashing a torrent of Cuverian tubercles. If you are unfortunate enough to get tangled in these sticky strings, you will be picking them off for days to come. You're welcome Bohadschia argus, I hope you enjoy your new snail-free existence.

And then there are the animals who mean you no harm, but can still get your heart pumping if you're lucky enough to swim with them and aren't too busy installing ARMS to notice their proximity.

While always mindful of safety, it's easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of discovery!

:) Mandy

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