Showing posts from March, 2010

Rangitoto Island and a Giant Squid

Last Sunday I had a field trip on Rangitoto Island for my NZ Ecology & Conservation class. The purpose of the trip was to test a hypothesis about the plants on the island. What I managed to take home with me was being able to identify about 11 plants by their Latin name. We walked across the very unstable A'a lava to measure out plots and then record which species were present in each plot.

Yesterday I got to see a plasticized giant squid (Architeuthis dux), since I mooch off of Becca to see all the cool stuff that Masters students get to gaze upon. It was a real squid, however, not alive. It was injected with plastic by the guy who did the Body World exhibit. He practiced on little squid before working on the giant squid. Supposedly, the squid was caught back in 2002!

Giant squid have the largest eyes in the animal kingdom. They need to be big since they live so deep and need to detect the small amounts of light.

Some tales of the giant squid: […

Old Crow Medicine Show

[Old Crow Medicine Show]
Last night I went with three friends (Becca, Hannah and Dean) to see Old Crow Medicine Show. For those of you who don't know who they are, they are an American bluegrass/folk band popular for their cover of 'Wagon Wheel'. The show was fantastic! We got right up in front row, left center. The opening group was a kiwi band from South Island and they sure set the right kind of mood and were a great start to the show. When Old Crow Medicine Show finally came out it was awesome! They know how to keep the crowd going for sure! I took probably 10 different videos, and knew all but probably 2 songs of the whole set. After the show we ran into the mandolin player and banjo player and managed to get a quick picture with them. They looked a bit jet lagged still.
[The Eastern - opened for OCMS]

Kiss me, I'm Irish!

Yesterday was St.Patrick's Day. The whole day I listened to The Chieftains, Irish Rovers, Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys. When I got home from my full day at uni, I cooked corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots. My flatmate, Mike, made some salsa, and we watched The Boondock Saints while enjoying our feast.

We were greeted with green beer at the Queens Ferry, where a friend of mine works. After a stop at Father Ted's to see if there was good music I went home for an early night. I was a little disappointed in Father Ted's. They are an Irish pub, run by an Irish couple, but the music was not what I wanted to hear on St. Patrick's Day. Just a guy with his guitar singing some popular hit songs that you hear on the radio. Nothing Irish about that.

Today has been a full day at uni. But tonight will be great because I am going to see Old Crow Medicine Show with a few friends.


Today I had my Invertebrates lab where we examined sponges. I finished the day around lunch time, so I got lunch with my friend Becca, from Chicago. She offered to take me up to her office at Auckland University of Technology where she is writing her Masters thesis on taxonomy of a species of squid.

I haven't seen so many squids (?). It was pretty cool seeing her in action. She donned her tie-dyed lab coat and handed me a rubber glove. She had to get some pictures of different parts of one of her larger specimens (only about a foot long). I was her little helper, lifting up tentacles so that she could get some good photos. Supposedly, on Monday, there will be a giant squid coming into AUT for her to "play with," so I will get to go stop by her office and take a look at the bad boy.

I met her supervisor, Steve, and he tried to convince me to switch to AUT from UoA. It was pretty cool getting to talk marine biology concepts with him and Becca. I will try to steal some squid …

Sponges are cooler than you think.

This week in Invertebrate Diversity we are learning about Phylum Porifera. Many people forget that they're animals. Very simple animals with no nervous system or organs. The most popular sponge is Spongebob Squarepants, but I think the coolest sponges in the sea are the Chimney Sponges!

Week One

One week done and I'm already hard into the books. Just taking a study break right now from reading Geomorphology and River Management. Being very productive with my schedule so far. Get up and have some breakfast, talk to Marius during that time and then head off to class (sometimes I'll squeeze in some reading before the first lecture), then get home and make some dinner before heading to the gym. Yadda yadda yadda...
I am also happy to report that my kids (the four x-ray tetras - Morten, Morten, Stevie Wonder, and Chum - and one pleco - Norman) are alive and very healthy after about five months of living in my tank that does not have a filter and they swim in city water that is very chlorinated. The one casualty happened back in January with the passing of Large Marge. While Marius and I were on our road trip she died and my flatmates did the honors of giving her a ride on the porcelain express (the toilet).
The only downside to my classes so far has been that in my Data Ana…

So many scared young faces.

The first day of classes was March 1, and I have one first year class (New Zealand Ecology and Conservation). I walked into the class and saw so many scared young faces who were experiencing the hectic, crowded environment that is University. Even though I also have two second year courses and a third year course, all the lecturers try to make the classes sound like the hardest class you'll have all year.

The stereotypes have been set for my lecturers. I have the wacky math lecturer for Statistics, and then the super outdoorsy Biology and Geography lecturers. My Invertebrate Diversity lecturer wears hiking shirts and pants and gets very excited when she talks about sea urchins since they are her specialization. My Hydrology lecturer was so excited to get to know our nerd herd by asking us our names and then favorite river.

For my Hydrology & Fluvial Geomorphology class I will be going on a four day field trip to Kawhia to do some river research. I am quite excited that the amoun…