Sunday, March 14, 2010

What are we up to now?

Don is spending winter quarter 2010 on an International Ocean Drilling Program cruise to the Great Barrier Reef, where he is working to collect, preserve, and examine reef cores. He's been sending back some great photos of sea snakes, jellyfish, drilling equipment, sunrises, and himself in a hard hat! The ship departed from Townsville in early February and he won't be back to Santa Cruz until mid-April. And even that date depends on how much they are delayed by bad weather from Cyclones Ului and Tomas that are east of Australia, but heading west! The drilling equipment of the ship is very sensitive to bad weather and is easily broken - they've already had a delay because their dynamic GPS couldn't keep the ship directly over the drilling spot!

Since his cruise was delayed until this quarter, I am teaching his class "Ecology of Reefs, Mangroves, and Seagrasses". I did enjoy being called "Professor McCully" for the first week or so until all my students understood that calling me "Kristin" was fine! I'm enjoying teaching a lot, but putting a huge amount of work into lecturing and preparing and grading exams, quizzes, presentations, paper discussions, and labs. It's making me appreciate Don, and every other professor I've ever had, a lot more! Fortunately, it's only quite this much work the first time you teach a class! My mom was very impressed to see me lecturing and took this photo below of me (center) with Wendy (right), Anne (bottom), and our friend Ben Hawks (left) at a dinner party at my house during her visit.

Wendy (who didn't make it to Midway in 2009) is working hard to analyze her data and write up her results so she can present her Ph.D. dissertation in the spring. She's applied for funding and a permit to do some postdoctoral work on coral restoration at Midway. She gave a full guest lecture to my class a few weeks ago on her research at Midway.

Anne (our 1st year grad student currently with purple hair) is working on the steps towards her scientific diving certification, which has required huge amounts of time diving both in the pool and in the ocean, as well as taking several classes and working as teaching assistant for the first time. She's successfully bribing her students (and mine!) by bringing in octopus-shaped carrotcake, pineapple-shaped (and colored) cake, shortbread, chocolate shells, and fish and turtle sugar cookies! Most of that was for a guest lecture she gave in my class on analyzing sediment and her research at Midway.

Don, Wendy, Anne and I are also working hard to finalize our report to the Monument on our work the last 2 years, apply for new permits, and figure out what we're doing this summer! We haven't figured out our schedule yet.

Helen O'Brien, one of our 2nd year graduate students, is working hard to begin her research on manta rays in the Gulf of California and working as TA for my class. She only came to Midway for 3 weeks in 2008, but may return this summer!

But the big news is Kate Schoenrock (left and below), who has moved on from working as our field assistant at Midway to doing her own graduate work at University of Alabama, Birmingham. Her research is on endophytic algae (algae living inside other algae) in Antarctica, and she arrived at Palmer Station in February for 4 months in Antarctica! You should all check out the blog and photos she and her colleagues are posting about their adventures driving Zodiacs, diving in dry suits, etc. ( Funny to see Kate in a survival suit and a drysuit! Talk about different from Midway!


RunnerBecky said...

Thanks for the link to the blog, Kristin! I didn't realize you had one. I often miss Midway and now I can still feel connected.

Hope all is well!
Becky Ingold Henning

Anonymous said...

Professor McCully,

Please keep posting on this blogspot if you find time.

- Your reader from the other side of the world :)