SaintJoe H2O

My journey since marine Biology 8 years ago (has it really been that long??)

Hello all! I am so excited for those of you that are just beginning your marine biology class. I was lucky enough to be a member of the first marine biology class back in 2000. Honestly, I initially wanted to take the class because, well who doesn't want to go to the Bahamas for a week, and do it under the guise of academic enhancement? It wasn't too long into the class though that I realized I have discovered something that would stick with me. By April, when it was time to get on the plane to Fort Lauderdale, I was more excited about seeing these fish I had been staring at on paper for so long than about spending a week on the beach (I am not going to lie I was still pretty excited about that too). I was lucky enough to get to go back to Andros with a small group that summer and do some "research" on a sailing trip (I never actually turned that into anything though...).
While I love tropical marine biology (who doesn't want to work in an incredibly beautiful warm place?) I fell harder for fish, and watching fish do what they do.
I ended up going to the University of Georgia for my undergrad and got a BS in Ecology. The degree was great but what I really got out of my undergrad was some amazing mentors who have helped me define my interests and narrow down my goals.
After graduating from college I worked at the Analytical Chemistry Lab at the University of Georgia for a while doing stable isotope analysis, cool stuff but oh so increbidly boring to do the grunt work on. Which is of course what I was doing. Soon though, I got a temporary position with the US Forest Service and moved out to Idaho where I got to travel around to different streams and do habitat surveys. When that job ended in the fall I went back down to forfar, this time as an intern. I stayed there for ~7.5 months and then went back to Idaho.
This time I had a job with Idaho fish and game where I got to be flown into wilderrness areas and fly fish for steelhead so I could put tags in them. (we don't get paid much in natural resources but we do get some of the BEST jobs out there!)
About 8 months into that job I decided it was time to go back to school. I ended up coming to Utah State University to get my Masters in Ecology. Here I am investigating the role of chemical alarm cues (these compounds that freshwater fish store in their skin cells that are released when their skin is broken and scare the crap out of other fish of the same species when they smell them), in allowing native, endemic fish to learn to recognize the odor of nonnative predators. I am currently trying to write my thesis and get done with this degree, because I just accepted a phd position with Scott Heppell at Oregon State University. I have a graduate research assistanship for the first two years which will require that I spend one month a year on a boat in the bearing sea (cold!!!) helping with an ecosystem level project which aims to understand the productivity and sustainability of the bearing sea. But the cool part about this phd is that my research will actually (probably, I haven't 100% decided yet) be on Nassau Grouper spawning aggregations in the Caymans.
So in conclusion, it has been a long road, but a fun one. Starting with Nash's class up to now I have gotten to play with fish and have a sense of purpose and excitement about my life. thank you!

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Comment by Stephanie Kraft Archer on September 18, 2008 at 9:04am
It is actually, and I try never to forget how lucky I am to have had an opportunity to find something that I loved that early on! The lesson is that you should always be open to the idea that you may in fact be a nerd deep down and a class really does have the power to excite you and change your life. And its really not so bad being a nerd, in fact its really fun because you always find other nerds who are just as excited about the things that you love! Who doesn't want to spend their life working with what you love surrounded by people who love it too!
Comment by Torin McKinley on September 18, 2008 at 8:58am
wow!!! that is so awesome to think that just some class you took in high school ( a cool class but a class none the less) actually lead you to find your purpose in life. thats really awesome

WATER...

warm

tropical

water

flowing

ever

so slowly

...northward

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Chapter 10

So for the first 6 pages or so, I skimmed it because none of it was about marine biology. But then I realized that it's about the corals and their danger. It made me sad to see how badly overpopulated Jakarta was/is, and every time I hear something about the destruction of nature because of human carelessness makes me mad. It makes me mad how people can't comprehend that they just destroyed a million-year-old animals and not it's not there any more. Ugh.See More
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Once I looked at the quote at the beginning of the chapter, I knew the chapter was going to be about turtles. It made me happy.I feel like the sea turtle is the type of animal that we would know a lot about, rather than being "an enigma to biologists." But apparently there's a "lost year(s)" and that's so weird. It's also interesting how sea turtles avoid bright lights. It makes sense though, because if it's in the light it's visible to other predators. I feel that the turtle get lost in their…See More
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The Enchanted Braid-Chapter 8 Reflection

That William Shakespeare passage at the beginning of the chapter really caught my attention: "Why, as men do a-land; the great ones eat up the little ones."  I find it eerily true... (What a world we live in!)  And the way the author described the fossilized "Bolca fishes" as being "like flowers carefully pressed and dried between the pages of a book" is just beautiful!  He uses so much detail, giving us insight into how well preserved these creatures must be.  The author is always so good at…See More
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Chapter 8 reflection

I searched up pictures of the Bolca fishes and holy crap. The fishes are so well-preserved and you can see every tiny bone in their body. The details on their dorsal fins are so defined, it looks like someone carved it out. The fact that "there is little difference between this fossil snapshot and a real one of coral reef fishes today" is incredibly cool. Considering the Bolca fishes were around about 50 million years ago, it's hard to believe that there's little indifference. Normally we would…See More
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The Enchanted Braid Chapter 8 Fish Stories

Remember to follow proper protocol while writing your reflection to Fish Stories.  Feel free to provide feedback to other post.  See More
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