So I started my research project about two weeks ago. The title may be Morphological observation of embryonic and early stage larval development of Perna viridis. It has been interesting for the most part since my first day I was able to visit a village further south with a professor and his students and see what aquaculture was like in another part of the world. This is definitely something I have only dreamed I could do! Not what most people would say is a “dream” of theirs I guess….I was able to watch local workers shuck oysters for their meat and go out on a boat to collect traps with a fisherman and even visit a local hatchery where they were raising oyster spat, green mussels and abalone. Who would have thought that all the things you only get to see on discovery channel or read in magazines, you could experience for yourself.
Most of my days though, consist of research on the computer, or collection of our species at the local fish market. Either way, still pretty interesting stuff when you can walk outside and your in China! So when I say there is lots of research on the computer, it’s mostly because the green mussels we are trying to spawn, like to do things on their own terms. This means, we get to wait allllll day until 9:30p or so until they feel like the time is right….then we get to stay up until 6a.m. watching the embryonic development of larvae. So…watching them turn from a circular blob (cell stage #1), to observing cleavage patterns and the formation of blastomeres (blobs 2 through >32). Then we squeeze in some sleep only to return to them spinning and twirling all over the slide while we scramble to take a picture while keeping them in view under the scope.
During free time, we usually do some touring or I try to challenge myself and go down to the markets with all the great language skills I now have (pretty much ordering a drink, pointing at food and getting the check!) Usually my answer to everything is smile and nod…they are probably saying something like “I’m charging you double,” or “are you an idiot?”. I just say, yes…For the most part though, I am usually getting awkward looks from people with the occasional pointing, Oh! and the shoving to get a friends attention…and no, I don’t think it’s what I am wearing….maybe.