Monday, July 18, 2005


...or is that hug-attacked? Whatever. I'll get to that in a minute. Warning: heavy-duty cuteness at the end of the post.

OK, so I still may or may not be an aspiring marine biologist. With the new job, it will be at least a couple of years before I go back to grad school, and jump back into the MB world with both feet. In the mean time, I've been occasionally volunteering at The Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands, and more recently at the Bodega Marine Lab on the Sonoma Coast.

Once a week or so, I've been helping a postdoc with his mussel study, doing exciting things like removing dead predators, checking the water flow, and feeding the live predators. Ehh, it's not much yet, but I do enjoy it. And I might be able to do a research project soon, if time and circumstances allow.

This Saturday was the bi-annual BML Open House, where the public was able to tour the facility and see what the heck we do. Thanks to an article in the SF Chronicle, tons of people came up. I spent the day explaining as best I could what the mussel study was:

1.) Collect and measure mussels.
2.) Put them into tanks.
3.) Add sea stars and whelks to the mussel tanks; in their own containers so they can't eat the mussels, yet exposed to the same water the mussels live in.
4.) Wait a few months.
5.) Re-measure mussels to see what physical effects have occured, due to the mussels being exposed to their predators. Are there chemical cues in the water that affect mussel growth?

Back to the attack-hug. The highlight of the whole day was a sweet little girl, no more than four years old, who came from nowhere to hug my leg. I didn't want to startle her, so I didn't pull back. Apparently she thought I was someone else, because two visibly embarresed adults (parents, heehee) told her: "Honey, that isn't Brian [or some other name]."


Oh well, there are far worse things than getting an accidental hug from a toddler. I told the young girl that her daddy was ready to go now, and somewhat perdictably her mother replied "We'll loan her to you!" Heh, that's OK.

I won't take the girl, but I'll keep the hug. Brian (or whatever his name was) can get a make-up hug from her later.

Way cool. The hug and the marine biologist part.
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