Friday, February 8, 2013

I've gone Down Under!

Hi Sea Fans!

My latest update is from...da dada daaaaa....AUSTRALIA!!

I recently spent some time in Queenscliff (which is in Victoria at the bottom of Australia) at the Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre, which is an educational marine/freshwater aquarium, where I got to check out an iconic Australian freshwater fish that can grow to over 1.5 metres in length ... the Murray Cod.  

This fish was definitely eyeballing me! : )

Thanks to Julie Murphy, my host, I got to spend time at the facility doing a variety of things.  I helped the volunteers;

Searching for plankton under the microscope.

I checked out some bones (It was fascinating to see a dolphin skeleton again, I haven’t seen one of those since I volunteered at one of the local museums!  I used to have to help keep all the skeleton information in order for future research);

and, following my visit to the education centre, I was lucky enough to be invited to spend a day in their research facility next door. The most fun was working with fish otoliths.  Do you know what those are?  Fish ear bones!  They’re used to age a a tree, you can count the rings on an otolith and find out how old a fish is.  
We used a diamond saw to cut the otoliths very, very thinly!

Looking at the otoliths under the microscope made me realise, once again, how amazing fish are...actually, all animals... because they're made up of so many complicated little things that seem so simple, but without every little one, the animal can't function.

I also spent some time in the chemistry lab doing nutrient testing on seawater samples.
Me behind the equipment that was analysing a seawater sample from a sewage outlet.
It's been so much fun checking out how the Aussies do it! :) Thanks Julie and the MFDC crew, it was great to meet you.

There's more to come Sea Fans, so keep an eye on  this blog for more on the work done in Australia.

Have a great week.
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