Monday, May 21st, 2001
Geoff and I headed to lab early today to do fishroom duty as we were scheduled to. Compared to last year, a fair amount has changed about how things are done in there, the most notable is the fish they feed the dolphins now.Last year, herring and kaplin made up the entire diet of the dolphins, but now they also get smelt and squid as well. No big deal, just more fish to sort out.
First session, I was scheduled to help record husbandry data for a session with Phoenix. Susie was the trainer, and she's definitely done this whole procedure a few times. One of the new interns, Jesse, was tankside with me to hand instruments to Susie while I was up on the stand recording the measurements and things that Susie pointed out to me. The body exam revealed some new scrapes and a few mouth sores, but nothing serious. I also found out a neat name for the little scars they get on the end of their rostrum... They call them pookas. When I first got here a week ago, both Ake and Phoenix had fairly large "pookas" that have all but healed over now. Watching how good Phoenix behaved while she was asked to do all these things tells me one of two things. She was either in a very good mood, or she likes doing it. Maybe a bit of both. I guess it's kind of relaxing for her, because she really doesn't have to do much other than lie there and relax.
Second session, I was an OM for cross model with Phoenix. I hadn't done that one before, but I had always wanted to try since last year. My job, along with Geoff (also a OM), was to hold up the two choices at the side of the tank for Phoenix to choose from. I managed to mess up on the first trial. I thought it was a cross modal exercise between echolocation and visual, but it was a visual to visual match. I couldn't see much due to the darked out goggles I was wearing and it kept me from seeing there wasn't a box in the water. When Dr. Pack called "Show!", I popped up too, and right after I did that I hung my head down - I knew I had messed up before Dr. Pack even said anything.
Third session, I was asked to video the visual to visual ross-modal session with Hiapo. That's also a fairly new one for me. The highlight of the session was seeing Mattias train Hiapo in his unusual, very flexable fashion. He definitely lets the dolphin have control of the session, but it worked just fine. Hiapo stationed immediately and didn't even seem to react when the gate was closed to separate him from the girls.Hiapo got almost all of them right, with the exception of some crosses and straight bars that all the dolphins seem have troubles with.
After the lecture, all the participants and I went over to Kincades, a nice seafood and "chops" restaurant over in Ward Warehouse across the street from the lab. Julia had made reservations for 8 of us, but Mattias Hoffman-Kuhnt from the lab graced his presence opon us as well, so we got an extra seat and sat down for probably one of the best plates of food I've had in a long time. Yeah, it did cost $20 for what I had, but it was EXCELLENT. I had the Mahi mahi (also called "dolphin fish", ironcially) with crab something batter and sweet and sour sauce served over white rice. Everyone else's dinners were equally as good from what I heard too.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I'm hoping I'll get another local with one of the dolphins since I haven't had one in a couple of lab days.
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You may use the pictures and content from this page for school and personal use ONLY. Please feel free to use the pictures as your desktop background, in school projects, or give them to friends, as long as they are unmodified. The material on this site is NOT permitted to be used on other websites or for comercial use without written permisson from Rob Harrison.
Feel free to email me if you have ANY questions or comments, and be sure to sign my guestbook!