Day 30: In Which holy shit it’s been a month

I’m very good at the linear progression of time, really, truly. Happy Equinox!

We did a very haphazard poster session this morning. Everybody had put their data from their 5ish fish they each dissected about a week and a half ago in a spreadsheet so we all had a reasonable sample set to work with, and then we all picked slightly different (very related) topics to slap together a poster about. My partner had a biology background, so he suggested that we calculate a relatively well known diversity index (Simpson’s, for the biologists in the audience) to see if cod and saithe (the two major fish species in the area) were were eating a well balanced diet of tiny swimmy things, or primarily one swimmy thing. We then used that index to calculate a much less well known comparison index (Morisita Overlap Index) between the two fish to see if they were eating the same things in the same proportions.

The copepods have made their return; 2/3 of both fish species stomach contents were just copepods, but we couldn’t actually tell if they were in direct competition with each other because ‘copepod’ covers a pretty broad range of creatures with different habits, and maybe they’re feasting on different species. Our professor seemed pleased though, and liked how little text and how many graphs we had (text in bullet points and large well labeled graphs has been my go-to for poster design for years now. also always make your background color lighter than you think because black text fades out surprisingly fast). It only took 5 tries for me to make the printer work, and honestly I’m taking this as a win.

The last poster session I went to was at sea, but this one featured a similar amount of wandering around and chit-chatting with people about all and sundry as we waited for the professor to circle around to us. It was a light convivial atmosphere, but I have spent several hours today talking about fish stomach contents and valid statistical analyses.

Everybody was also a little bit stressed for the final exam tomorrow, but based on the sample questions the professor sent around, I don’t think it’ll be too bad. I’ll have to brush up on my phytoplankton (still not a biologist), but everything else feels reasonably solid.

Otherwise it’s been a slow, cloudy day. I (eventually. ugh) won a fight with both the washer and the dryer – the dryer was turning off every 5 minutes and neither me nor either roommate could figure out why. Also I could not find a manual for love or money or internet piracy. Eventually we discovered the box where the dryer was dumping the water and figured out how to empty it, and this (mostly, mod some button mashing) fixed the problem.

I’m really pining for apple cider; I know it’s autumn out there somewhere, but here each day looks much like the previous (about 9°C, cloudy in the morning, slight wind out of the north-west) and doesn’t have that transience that September in New England has. Also the mountains don’t change color – it’s all coniferous trees and moss. On a whim I bought some local greenhouse strawberries a couple days ago, and while it’s not the right season, it is nice to have local fresh fruit.

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