Thursday, February 27, 2014

Whaling Museum

Hi Sea Fans!

I've been freezing here in the USA, but it's been sooooo worth it!  I've snuggled up inside a whaling museum to get away from all the snow (although making snow angels and having snow ball fights is good fun after everyone's finished work!) so that I can find out more about the job of a museum staff member.

I visited Bob, who's the Science Director at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in Massachusetts, and he showed me around:

This museum is 111 years old and it's the most comprehensive/complete museum devoted to the global story of whales, whaling and the cultural history of the region!!!

The staff at the museum are responsible for preserving (protecting so that it lasts a long time) and cataloging (sorting, labelling and putting everything together in order) the artifacts (objects/items), creating exhibits, 
A ship cutaway model so that you can see all the details inside a real ship.
writing about the history of the area and its connection to the ocean.  They also teach students of all ages (and their teachers).  The museum not only has exhibits that you can look at, but it has a library too which can be used by interns and students from around the world...they've even had some from South Africa!!!

During my visit I've been able to see so much, one of the best things was stepping onto the world's largest ship model called the Lagoda.

It's only half the size of a real whaling ship but boy, was it huge!  I also got to see the world's largest exhibit of scrimshaw. (This is artwork created on hard parts of marine teeth).  
I got to visit some of the artifact storage, including a large harpoon collection (which haven't been used since the 1920's)
and objects that belonged to whaling families (things like dolls, fine art, furniture etc.).
I even got to sit on the skull of a 14.6m sperm whale.
How cool!

Something which you would expect at a whaling museum is skeletons.   The museum has skeletons of 4 different species which they use to teach people all about whales, whale biology and whale conservation.
Me on a Humpback vertebrae.
While I was visiting, I was also lucky enough to spend some time with students from Rochester while they were learning all about food chains and food webs.

What an awesome visit and what a different kind of marine job!  Did you ever think about working in a museum?  Well, if you'd like to know more about museum jobs, why not visit your local museum and see if they have a marine expert and have a chat to them about their job.

Have a great week Sea Fans!
Chat soon.
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jet setter!

Hi Sea Fans!

It's amazing the places that I've been, the people I've met, the animals I've been able to get to know and the things that I've seen.  Thanks to everyone who has hosted me in their country and hometown, I've had a ball!!  Nope, I'm not done yet, I just want to say thanks to the folks who've been a part of my journey so far:

  • Alaska Fisheries Science Centre (Kodiak Lab), USA
  • Alaska Sea Life Centre, USA
  • Prince William Sound Science Centre, Alaska, USA
  • Two Oceans Aquarium, South Africa

  • Henley Marine Discovery Centre, Australia
  • Tagai State College, Australia
  • Tasmania's Woodbridge Marine Discovery Centre, Australia
  • Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre, Australia (Perth)
  • Queenscliff Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre, Australia

  • Veracruz Aquarium, Mexico
  • Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre, Canada
  • California Science Centre, USA
  • Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, USA
  • San Francisco Mobile Aquarium, USA
  • Oregan Coast Aquarium, USA
  • Catalina Island Field Station 
  • Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, USA
  • Joides Resolution/DEEP EARTH Academy (Ship)

  • Wrigley Marine Science Centre, USA
  • Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Gulf of Mexico
  • Florida Aquarium, USA
  • Pier Aquarium, USA
  • Mote Marine Lab, USA 
  • Whale-Net (USA and Australia)
  • Antarctic Research Station

I still have so many more people to visit and countries to see so keep enjoying the ride with me, Sea Fans, it's going to be awesome!

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Cuttlefish Batteries

Hi Sea Fans!
Visiting all these different aquariums and marine facilities makes me appreciate the animals more and more.  One little animal that I've always loved and been fascinated with is the cuttlefish.
Photo: Nick Hobgood
This little guy is not only the beautiful cousin of the octopus, a colour-changing genius and a super swimmer, but it may also be the answer to many a medical problem.  Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have made an interesting discovery: cuttlefish ink can power tiny electric devices that could be swallowed or implanted in the body!  NO WAY!!!  How cool!!!
Normal batteries can be toxic (poisonous/harmful), but because the cuttlefish batteries use the animal's ink and manganese oxide (also non-toxic), it makes these animal batteries a lot safer for us to use...especially if we have to swallow something like a battery-operated pill that will act as a camera inside our bodies to check things out!
Cuttles are super duper little creatures if you ask me!  Just another way in which Nature shows us the way…
Have a great weekend Sea Fans!
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