the sometimes senseless ravings (and the occassional rant) of an aspiring marine ecologist who may enjoy killing things a little too much

Friday, June 03, 2005

Successful Puffer Rescue

well, it was another jam-packed day for me at the sea lab. i arrived at 7:15 am to check out the oldest, crappiest truck the sea lab owns so i could go load up gear and lunches and take them to the dock. i got another lecture from al on not losing the very expensive CTD overboard, and all the marine biology students helped me load our stuff on the verrill (but not the CTD - they were not to mess with the CTD). a former student of dr. o'brien's, emily, joined us on the trip. she's down from virginia dog-sitting for anne while she's in the turks and caicos.

the boat trip was pretty eventful. there were four separate cases of major sea sickness among the students. i guess the verrill lived up to its nickname (the vomit comet) for them. emily and i looked at that as being extra sandwiches for us. no expensive oceanographic equipment was lost, and for the first time (for me, anyway) 4 black-tip sharks came to feed on the leftover fish from our trawls. i was quite excited about that. usually we just get sea gulls and the occasional dolphin. there were many dolphin sightings, but i see them all the time, so i was more impressed with the sharks.

the most exciting part of our little voyage today was the puffer rescue. i'd made it clear to all on board that if any puffer fish were pulled up in a trawl, they were mine. i've wanted a puffer for quite some time now, but i'm too cheap to go and buy one. so when we pulled up the trawl from mobile bay, i vigilantly raked aside a plethora of spots, croakers, hog chokers, blue crabs, shrimp, anchovies, and cutlassfish in search of just one tiny puffer. but alas, i did not locate one on that large table teeming with fish. and then, i heard a chorus of, "latina! latina! a puffer!" so i of course went running back to the table shouting, "get me some water!" emily obliged with a cup and we went to the hose to put some bay water in it for my dying puffer. he looked fairly sad, all upside down in a plastic cup. but i could see the tell-tale gill movement that said, "don't give up on me now. i'm still kickin', see?" so we blasted him with an aerator for a few hours, and now he's doing much better - he's right side up, at least. i'm keeping him in a small tank to himself until he starts swimming better. then, he can join the rest of my critters in the aquarium.

ok, folks, you've learned of my puffer rescue, and i'm covered in boat grime and fish scales, so i'm heading for the shower.

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