Over the past few weeks my experience as an ecologist has definitely diversified, with the newt season sadly over. Gaining a wider range of experience is definitely a positive thing, although I do miss the newt surveys and they remain among the most fun ones I’ve done so far.
My dad says I should write a blog post about how many jobs I’ve had in the past six months, and he’s certainly had worse ideas – so here is a snapshot of six months in the working life of a zoologish (warning: does not contain much zoology).
I’ve recently had the opportunity to do some squid dissections for an audience of fascinated/horrified children and adults. Although we did do a squid dissection lab in my first or second year of University I’d long since forgotten the details, so it was quite fun to relearn these and share them with the public.
I recently started a job at Bristol Aquarium as a guest experience assistant, so I thought I’d take you on a virtual tour of the place, starting with the biggest tank in the aquarium, the natives tank.
Where better to be on a cold rainy Saturday in November than at Plymouth University Marine Station, learning all about surveying for whales and dolphins! Clearly I’m not the only person who thought so anyway, as the room was packed with marine mammal surveyors to-be.
I realise that over the past few weeks I have been waiting until I have a ‘proper job’ or ‘something exciting’ sorted out before writing a post, but that actually goes against the ethos behind this blog. As we’re all aware, getting into research and conservation is incredibly challenging, and we all still need to earn money and have lives in the interim. So this is what mine looks like at the moment.
I spent ten weeks as a research assistant for Latin American Sea Turtles (LAST) on their Osa In-Water Project. This is one of very few projects that aims to study sea turtles in their foraging environment rather than on nesting beaches (which only make up 2% of the life cycle, and where you can only study adult females and hatchlings). I worked with hawksbill, green and Pacific green turtles. The project also has a mangrove reforestation element, and aims to work with and within the local community.
Our last day off was spent swimming and sunbathing and generally being very lazy and soaking up the Costa Rican sun. Then it was time to say goodbye to our volunteer, with only a couple of days before we got to meet our replacement research assistants. Some toucans turned up in our papaya tree and the macaws seemed even more numerous than ever, just to remind of us of how incredible our home for the past ten weeks has been.