Bat rays (Myliobatis californica) by Amanda Cotton
Bat rays are euryhaline - they can survive in a range of salinities, which is no mean evolutionary feat ‘cos osmoregulation is complicat-ed.
Check out more of Amanda’s elasmobranch adventures here.
My parents are still telling me to get a realistic dream and I’m 28.
It’s not all about the grades. Even Universities aren’t singly focused on getting an A, or a First. Experience counts for more than you can even imagine. Volunteer for marine wildlife centers, research teams, see if there are any seal or cetacean rescue centers near you… Scotland’s a dream for that. Show that you have more to give than just a letter. Show the skills you develop from work experience. Show your dedication through extra-curricular activities, and if you really need help with the grades - get a tutor, and/or work your arse off!
In response to many, but no particular ‘ask’ - do not allow any blogger to be a replacement for your own research.
You guys ask me a lot of questions, many of them are awesome, well though out questions, and I don’t answer them fast enough, and for that I apologise.
However, certain questions make me shake my head in exasperation. I’m not google. In fact, to answer some of these questions, I do just head to google and type in the same text that was sent to me.
It’s a waste of my time, but more importantly yours. Being told the answer is not learning. I’ve done all the work for you, and I’m the better for it. But that doesn’t really help you…does it?
Learning is more than getting the answer and ticking that box, or getting a good grade. It’s about the process. The critical analysis you exercise by reading different sources, by not believing everything Wikipedia tells you, by forming your own opinion, is priceless.
It’s not the easier option, but don’t be scared to flex those muscles, to make mistakes, to get constructive feedback. It will help you grow as a biologist, as a scientist, as a person. I refuse to steal this from you.
Ask me my opinion, ask for guidance on where to start looking, ask context, ask for advice, but not for an answer you can find on your own.
Let sites like Google Scholar be your friend. Find sites where your scientist heros like Joe or David, or any of the Southern Fried Scientist, Deep Sea News or Sea Monster team’s blogs and get some context. Keep up with the latest.
Feed your own mind. You’re never too young to start.
Grace Peliño (Fisheries Coordinator, Puerto Galera, Philippines) on community outreach and awareness of environmental issues.
Zebra Crab (Zebrida adamsii)
…a small species of crab found throughout the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean, ranging from Japan to Australia. Like other zebra crabs Z.adamsii is often found on sea urchins (Typically fire and flower urchins) where they will groom the echinoderm feeding on any food items that may have fallen onto it. In turn the crab is defended by the urchin’s spines.
Zebra Crabs are awesome, and I’m pretty sure the top photo is actually a Harlequin Crab (Lissocarcinus orbicularis).
I always imagine juvenile Sweetlips are on uppers… and totally off their faces! I’ll post an example next.
Damselfish are very territorial, and will nip at you despite being a fraction of your size…bad ass mofos.
Batfish are curious, swimming in large cautious circles around you on a dive. I imagine them thinking “What are you, you crazy bubble making being”.
Crabs are always like “Uh-oh, you spotted me.” then they raise their claws like “I can take you, you know”.
Turtles can be incredible graceful, but when they start bulldozing onto the reef, or you, it’s like they are operating heavy machinery under the influence!
Moray eels are totally chilled out, moving their jaws open and closed to ventilate, but it can seem like they are just talking to themselves.
Great question - there are so many personalities on the reef!
Firstly, let me point out that technically, I work in marine conservation. I love the non-9 to 5 nature of my work, that I get to share my passion and love for the ocean with others, and that I have the skills to educate and try and change peoples attitudes and therefore their actions to reduce their impacts on the marine environment.
I work long hours, in remote and beautiful places that are sometimes without certain luxuries like hot water, or cheese, or…internet! I both like and dislike this! But really, I don’t dislike much - and if I do, I try to put it in the ‘just-deal-with-it’ box because I love what I do. I am away from family and friends, and moving around a lot means it’s hard to sustain a routine, or have a base, or a relationship but you just have to find a balance. It’s not impossible. I’ve concentrated on how work affects a personal life because at the end of the day, the work is great and it’s the ‘life’ part that you need to make sure you are happy with.
Yes. My spending habits have definitely changed. I think in Philippine Pesos now, which makes the rest of the world just seem ridiculously expensive. Again it’s about finding the balance between what you want, need and are saving for.
I was inspired as a child and nothing ever topped it. See here: http://madasamarinebiologist.com/my-journey
My advice would be to firstly, appreciate that you get to choose from two awesome careers. Then imagine where a life in either is going to take you. Make a list of things you like and dislike about each? Seems simple, but basically…find a way to organize your thoughts. You probably are already leaning towards one - just don’t be scared to choose!
I would not, could not, will not pick a random topic for you for your graduation thesis!
You are going to spend months of your life on this. You are going to (hopefully) pour your heart and soul into it. You are going to be saturated by this by the end. The topic is an entirely personal journey into what is likely your first real bat at Science (despair and all) from start to finish. It has to be something you are interested in. It has to ignite a spark.
Additionally, you know your University, the resources you have available to you, the people you have to guide you. Talk to your professor’s. Go through old notes to see what interested you. I promise, you have all the tools you need to make this decision.
I will suggest, since you have two topics you are interested in, finding if they overlap somehow?
Well thank you!
I don’t see why you can’t actively participate though! The line between art and science is not that thick. I often find science is best communicated by art! Hope you can find a way to dance over the line and enjoy both sides!