Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Half way through week one

So I realized that I haven't written about my internship at all yet! Not much has happened but I figured I would take part of lunch to write about it thus far.

On Monday (day 1), I started right away with organizing the images from the 2009 trip. I placed the photos into four different groups: fishes, terrestrial,  coral, and NAI'A (the name of the boat). All are pretty self-explanatory and contain images from five different memory cards.
five FULL memory cards, aka a lot of data.

So now I had this massive collection of photos and I figured that I should organize them, so I made a mastery sheet. Using excel, I made a sheet for each of the four groups and made the columns; image name, original location, description.  Again, easy and straight forward (we scientists enjoy that since something always seems to be astray). On Monday I was able to finish NAI'A and part of fishes before Les came in.

He and I talked and was already really impressed by what I had done and thought of. He said "By the end of this you will be a valuable part of PIPA and I'll talk with Randi* about opportunities". I am not sure what that means but I know it's good! We also talked about me helping write/ edit papers, do coral research in the lab, go on local collecting trips, etc! SO EXCITING!

So Tuesday was basically a repeat of Monday except I worked on fishes and was shocked. I came into this internship not really knowing any indo-pacific fish that well (besides the basics that everyone knows) yet by the end of Tuesday I knew about 50 common names, how to identify this fish, could easily determine the family of fish based on the body shape, and have gotten down some scientific names (the first one I got was Black jack= Caranx lugubris). If this is day two and I already know that can you imagine how fantastic this co-op will be for me to learn!
Caranx lugubris: Black Jack

I also left on Tuesday feeling like I may sail through this too quickly: I have done all the groups except coral and had done so with ease. Then I came in today...

Starts out as usual, start up the computer, swirl around in the spiny chair, delete the e-mails about post-holiday sales (now that I have a Rugby gift card(thanks Mom!) maybe I should keep some of those ;]. Anyway then I figured it was a good time to start with the coral identification. So I wrote down the image titles of the 600 coral photos there are and look around the lab for a coral ID book. I found one for staghorn corals that is in black and white and found a scientific list of the Phoenix Island corals (no photos).

How is it coming? Well it has been about three hours and I know that a Faviidae is a mushroom coral and found 20 photos of those. I also know Acropora is staghorn, table, elkhorn corals. While this is a feat, identifying these corals is almost impossible. I honestly don't even know how to go about this and actually am having Les come save me this afternoon by helping me out. So I have my first real challenge and am excited to conquer it but this maybe harder than organic chem.  I am hoping by the end of next week I will have this down and move onto the videos, but looking at the whole process from the starting point, its daunting.

I do absolutely love this co-op though and am excited for the first lab meeting on Monday and for all of the BU students to return!

* Randi Rotjan is a research scientist at the New England Aquarium who specializes in coral and is one of the heads of the PIPA research group. I want to be her in that sense (which she knows and told me how to get there). We are also recent Facebook friends ;P

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