Category Archives: True Life

The life of a biology major….

Okay, so I know that I have been somewhat MIA for the past month and for that I am sorry. Between finals, presentations, papers, moving back to the continental U.S., starting a new job, finishing up my degree, blah, blah, blah….you get the idea and I don’t think I need to bore you with the details, unless you actually care and in that case..hit me up on facebook and we will catch up. Unfortunately, something always gives and I hate that it had to be this, but it did. Anyways, I am hopefully back on the straight and narrow (well…kind of) and will be posting more regularly as I have so many fun things I have been wanting to share with all of you. Hope all is well out there and that my fellow biology majors are keeping their heads above water in these most stressful times (a.k.a. finals). Alas, I leave you with this, a little break those of you who have been living in the library this past month like I have (sadly it is possible to actually live in the library) and for everyone else, a brief, but comedic glimpse into those living the sweet life…

Props: Emottz24 (awesome video dude) and Lauren P., a chemist near and dear to my heart, for sending this to me

From one island to the next.

Catalina Island

What a week. Sorry about my M.I. A. status. This has been the first time since I left my little spot in the sun in the S. Pacific last Monday that I have had time to even sit down and think. Basically came home, did laundry, said hola to the fambam and within two days was on a boat putt putting away to my new home. Crazy… I know.

Welcome to Santa Catalina.

A beautifully pristine segment of the Channel Islands right off the coast of the Sunshine state, Catalina is a favorite for scientists and tourists alike.  For the next semester, I will be  participating in the CSU Marine Biology Semester hosted by CSU Long Beach. I will be studying at the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, learning as much as I can about all things watery.

Since we got off the boat it has been a non-stop ichthyology fishfest and I am loving every minute of it, except maybe the only getting a max of 5 hours of sleep every night (that I could live without). From 8 in the a.m. to well into the night, it has been learning about bones, behavior, identification and so much more! Every ecology nerd’s dream, so naturally I think it’s awesome. So much to learn, so little time. Hope to keep you all informed.

Science can get you there.

For the past two months, I have been given the most wonderful opportunity to work on the beautiful Coral Coast of Fiji,  studying the chemical ecology of various coral-algal interactions (Rasher and Hay 2010).  Living in a village, working on the reefs and exploring the paradise of Fiji is an experience I will forever hold near to my heart. Alas, all good things must eventually come to an end and I find myself headed back to the good ‘ole U.S. of A. today. A bittersweet feeling as I am so very excited for the enticement of a hot shower, but my little island in the sun will be greatly missed. Moce (Farewell) Fiji! It’s been great.

Some perk’s of working in the S. Pacific…

The Island Lyfe.

Dreamweaver. RokiRoki, Fiji

Sunset in Paradise.

The fish that kissed my butt.

Remora. Up in your business.

 Okay. So just to put it out there. No, I am not making this up. I wouldn’t go as far as saying the incident in question has scarred me for life, but it has definitly made me think twice about watching my back…or my butt as it were…underwater.

Let’s back up a little bit. So my initial encounter with the bizzare creature giving you the stanky eye above occured a couple of months ago while diving off the aquamarine coast of Key Largo. Doing some work with the National Undersea Research Center, this was my first experience in warm, tropical, semi-coral filled waters and the array of  life they contain. After a couple of action packed days of sciencing and surveys, I had become quite use to the terrain, until that fateful dive. My buddy and I had been scrubbing cages, when I was no longer comforted by the sound of her brush on the other side of the cage. Why had she stopped I wondered, so curiously, I investigated. Looking up…WTH is that! I had never seen anything like it and why would it not go away?Perhaps more importantly, does it have teeth? Both of us sat there dumbfounded and a little apprehensive until finally we had to surface. Even then, the damn thing kept dive bombing us throughout our entire ascent. What was it’s deal?

Anyways long story short, upon reaching the boat and describing our puzzling encounter, we were educated on the fishy creeper who had no comprehension of a “personal bubble.”

The Remora

Short for: Remora remora

Rapper name: Sharksucker

Family: Echeneidae

Specs: 30-90 cm long, Modified Grill in the form of a flattened dorsal fin

Superpower: Uses sucking organ on dorsal side for hitch-hiking rides with their homies like whales, sharks, dolphins, turtles, rays, boats, divers, etc. This is a type of Commensalism known as Phoresy, where you are only in it to bum a ride. Some Remoras may actually be useful, cleaning bacteria and parasites as they go.

Once I knew what it was, it all made sense. I had seen them previously, however, only in their attached state. Cool.

Fast forward to just last month, my 21st birthday to be exact. (Luck for you I still remember this part of the day). Now residing in Fiji, the north side of the big island, out for a birthday dive with my mates and the same dive buddy. Just swimming along minding my own business, when she stops me mid kick and just points.  I look. Nothing. Keep swimming. Again she stops me, and now I am like okay what? Shark? (We had already seen a couple that dive). Turn around. Nothing. Now she is busting up, snapping pictures of the invisible thing we were supposedly both looking at. I keep looking…that’s it she must be Narc’ed (slang for Nitrogen Narcosis, a condition of imaired judgement or state of delusion while scuba diving). A good 5 minutes this debauchery continues, Until finally she grabs me and shows me the camera. Oh…well…Who has kissed your butt recently?

Kodak Moment


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