Showing posts from September, 2010

Huge storm hits NZ

New Zealand is just getting beaten from every angle this season. A storm the size of Australia is currently on top of New Zealand. The low pressure system was brewing southwest of the South Island and hit land Friday afternoon. It's still working its way across with violent winds, heavy rain, and even a tornado was reported in Tauranga. The South Island was hit with snow and Friday there were widespread power outages, but not in Auckland (thank goodness). The weather is quite bipolar, switching from heavy rain to sunshine every 30 minutes or so. Makes it difficult for me to time my jogging schedule today!

More news from

Another bit of New Zealand featured on this week: the first hourglass dolphin in 150 years was found on New Zealand shores. They are more commonly found in the Antarctic regions, and very rarely do they take a trip north to the south island of New Zealand. Would have been cool if it was sent to Auckland University, but Massey University got it instead and then to Te Papa Museum in Wellington for further study.

Bright side to the Christchurch earthquake

A little kiwi bird, named Ricktor, hatched shortly after the earthquake, which gives some light into the dismal state of Christchurch. Kiwis are an endangered species and the national symbol of New Zealand.

Busy bee!

Handed in a lab report this are 2 tests on Friday. YIKES! So this week I will be only home for food and sleep and the rest of the time will be on campus, and of course one hour saved for my daily jog (except today because I'm feeling too stressed today).
Then I have 2 Marine Dynamics reports due on the 24th, another ecological physiology lab write up due the 27th, and my MASSIVE fish biology reports due October 7. Man, oh man, it doesn't stop, eh? But that's good. Keeps me distracted and on task until my mom visits in 66 days!

Fish biology at the marine lab

For the past three days, I spent a total of 23 hours in the lab identifying species of lantern fishes, dissecting 2 different local species of herbivorous fishes, and then examining their gut contents and digestive system.
The first day was fish taxonomy. We had a jar of 13 different species of lantern fish that were no more than 5 inches long. Most of them were only 2-3 inches long. We counted photophores, gill rakers, and fin rays. We picked out one of our identified species and will have to write a full description of the fish.
The second day was examining the digestive systems of herbivorous fish. We dissected a parore and a butterfish. First we had to remove the digestive tract to measure it and save the contents of the first segment (the stomach) and freeze them for the next day. Then we removed the skin from the cheek of the fish to see the musculature of the jaw apparatus and further down, removing the gill arches, to examine the pharyngeal structure. (Sorry if the photos seem t…

Dog sitting on Waiheke Island

[Jet jumped all over my course notes!] [The view of the bay from the second floor balcony]
Hannah and Sonny went for a dive at Poor Knights, but I have assignments to do, so I stayed back and watched their two dogs for them. Kalie was great! Very well trained and a sweetheart...Jet was a handful of a 7mth old giant. He woke me up at 5:30AM to take him out to pee. Then they were both noisy so they got breakfast and I tried to get an extra hour of sleep. It was a beautiful day on the island today so I went for a run and took Jet for a walk to try to get some energy out. Then spent a bunch of time studying fish biology and working on assignments.
Tomorrow morning I head back up to the Marine Laboratory in Leigh for a 3-day fish biology field course. Hopefully I will have something cool to tell.

Some pictures from the Marine field trip

Some photos, courtesy of my classmate Aron, from the Leigh Marine Laboratory.
[Measures how much energy a fish spends at varying swimming speeds.]
[Diving for kelp to be measured by our class - sadly I am not one of the divers.]

Earthquake in Christchurch

At 4:35AM today there was a 7.1 magnitude earthquake 33 kilometers outside of Christchurch. The quake was felt in Wellington, but I didn't feel it in Auckland (probably because I was fast asleep). A state of emergency was declared and there was an aftershock just before 8AM at 5.2 magnitude. The quake was 10 kilometers deep.
So yup, I'm safe.

Marine Dynamics at Leigh Marine Lab

Spent the last two days at the University of Auckland's marine laboratory up at Leigh (Goat Island Marine Reserve). We arrived at Leigh, welcomed by beautiful sunny weather at 9am on Tuesday morning. We spent half the day at a computer graphing light composition versus depth. But after lunch we got to go out on the university's boat for the best part of the field course.
I'm pretty sure that one year of my tuition fees paid for the boat, and then the next semester of fees paid for all the fancy equipment on board. It was really neat to see it all up and running. We used an underwater camera to see the differences in kelp at different depths around the harbor. A diver working for the university pulled up some samples and we measured and weighed be graphed this week.
We were finished for the day by 4:30, which gave us time to explore the tide pools around Goat Island and hang out with other classmates. That night we were in the onsite dorms, which were brand new and…