Saturday, February 18, 2012

HQ News

We've had a lot going on these past several months.  At the end of 2011 we did some more Gulf of Mexico survey dives.  Check out the size of this sponge as compared to the size of that diver (me), keeping in mind that I was making myself as small as possible to conserve body warmth.

In addition to my role as sponge-scale-provider, I have also functioned as a pack mule.  John and I spent some time moving a donated collection from the nearby Bartram Hall over to our space in Dickinson.

The collection includes Bryozoan specimens as well as reference material.  We tackled the reference material first.  Finding a space to store it seemed a daunting task, but John undertook it with confidence.  Remind me never to challenge John to a game of Tetris.


We've also had a fair share of visitors these past months, although not up to the flood levels we have experienced in the past.  A group of art students came in for a couple of days to sketch some of the more comely and/or dramatic specimens in our collection.


Also back to visit us is Rob Lasley, now a grad student in Singapore.  As this touching photo of Rob and Fran├žois can attest, Rob has integrated right back into the group.  He'll be here for a few months to look at our collection and get some additional data for his research on Chlorodiellinae, a group of marine crabs. We'll hate to see him leave us again.  The reason this picture is a little grainy-looking is because I took it surreptitiously through my dusty window.

We also spent some time tending to the giant squid that I mentioned in a previous post.  He had to spend some time soaking in formalin, but once he was sufficiently saturated we had to then soak him in water (to rinse him out) and then preserve him in ethanol.  Here are John and I pumping out the formalin (which is toxic, hence the respirators).


The other significant cephalopod in our lives also underwent some housing changes.  The Octopus was recently moved to a new mansion that we procured for her.


Unfortunately, she has since adopted some brooding behaviors and stopped eating; we are afraid that she might have laid eggs in her rock cave.  If that is indeed the case, she probably won't be with us for much longer.

And just so we don't close on that note...here is a picture of Julie competing in the arm wrestling tournament this past fall.

:) Mandy