First week at Friday Harbor Labs

It has been a full week already and it flew by. Everything about Friday Harbor Labs is awesome. The ferry ride to the island is one of the most scenic things I have ever experienced. There are big rocky cliffs everywhere dropping off into the cold blue waters of the Puget Sound. In the distance you can see Mount Baker in one direction and the Olympic Mountains to the other. Both are huge snowy peaks poking up through the clouds. Giant pine trees tower above the entire lab campus. The wildlife is also spectacular. There are so many birds everywhere, a true bird watchers dream. My favorites are the quails, which are a common and very charismatic ground bird. There is actually a Rufus hummingbird buzzing around me right now. The deer here are like squirrels they are everywhere and don’t care. You walk right by them and they pay you no real attention. However, by far the most amazing thing about this place is the marine ecosystems. A quick stroll on the shore about you will see giant bull kelp, starfish, polychaetes, crabs, isopods, seals, fish, and the list goes on and on.

The people here with me are also great. It’s only been a week but we are already like a family. There are 19 or so of us I think. Basically we all work very hard from after breakfast to dinner in our labs and then we all kick back together at night. It has been a great time every night so far. I am pretty sure I have made some friends for life and future colleagues. It is so nice to be in the company of other aspiring scientists like myself. All of actual scientists here are great too. They have all been very friendly. Everyone is on a first name basis. We are all working on our own projects and at the end of the summer we will be giving a presentation about our work. Hopefully at least some of us will be able to publish; I know I would be very siked if I could.

My research is investigating the decorating behavior in the last larval stage and very young graceful decorating crabs, Oregonia gracilis. I will also be characterizing their early ontogeny as it has not been done before. One of the most exciting things to me is I have managed to incorporate the electron microscope into my work. I have always wanted to use one. Well that is all for now enjoy the pictures.