Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dominique McCowan

This summer I was lucky and privileged to work with Dominique McGowan.  From the first day she took me all around and showed me everything I needed to know in order to complete my project!  She is a brilliant chick that also happens to be cool as ever!  We went to Orpheus Island to collect samples and had such a great time!  Dominique taught me valuable lab skills and we often spoke about her research on Coral Reef Ecology.  Let me tell you a little about her!  She moved here three years ago from the states.  She has never left and I know why!  Australia is awesome.  As soon as she arrived she finished up her undergrad degree and jumped straight into research with Dr. Morgan Pratchett due to her advanced experience working with mosquitoes and West Nile Virus.    Her first thesis was on the Synergistic Effect of Salinity and Temperature with Bleaching Events.  She is now working towards her PHD and also her second thesis which has to do with variability and susceptibility of corals to mass bleaching events.  She is looking into how much variation there is in one species and how much time it takes them to bleach.  She has measured many, many factors that affect variation.  She is now comparing the thermal thresholds of 2 species at 3 locations along the Great Barrier Reef.  Lizard Island, Orpheus Island, and Heron Island.  They all have varied thermal histories so she is really interested in the results.  Right now she is also taking a dozen species from eight different families and measuring their susceptibility to bleaching.  She is finding some are bleaching tolerant.  She is working on one of kind research and the first to use such a large number of species to research!  Dominique is awesome, energetic, and intelligent.  You go girl!!!!!

On our way to Orpheus Island

Counting Zooxanthellae


Monday, August 2, 2010

The Lab is heating up!!!

Slide with homogenized sample. 


Acropora Nasuta samples

We are now on a mission to finish our projects.  We are spending a great deal of time in the lab!

Counting...............and more counting!

Castle Hill with PIP : )

Literally climbing the face of Castle Hill!

Liz, Elise, Pip, and Samy the cute woff.
A very common workout in Townsville is to hike Castle Hill.  Castle Hill is a pink granite monolith standing in the heart of the north Queensland city of Townsville. It rises to a height of some 938.3 feet  above sea level and dominates the city skyline. Castle Hill has formerly also been known locally as Mount Cootharinga - a name of aboriginal origin.  During World War II, the city was host to over 50,000 American and Australian troops and air crew, and it became a major staging point for battles in the South West Pacific.

Half way up!

Most people walk up the goat trail which is hard but hiking Castle Hill with Pip was a whole other story.  Pip is a wonderful New Zealand born lady that moved to Australia and married Paul.  They are friends with Jay "the man with the plan" that sent us here to do research.  Thanks Jay we love you!  We also love this great family who took us into their house, fed us a great dinner, and finally took us on the hike of a lifetime.  Following Pip up the mountain was a task in itself harder than we ever though.  We climbed the face of Castle Hill and prayed for our life the whole long way up.  Once we got to the top,  it was very well worth it.  There were breathtaking views one only sees very rarely.

It was quite a workout!

After hiking Castle Hill we all decided to go to a Zumba dance class.  Can you say overly exausted?  We had a blast anyway!

Cruising in yachts

Sun bathing was great!
Australia is such a friendly place it is almost unbelievable!  We went down to the Whitsunday Islands this weekend to swim and snorkel.  There are 74 islands in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef!  You can easily island hop all day if you wanted or pick one out and hang out awhile.  We did both!  We met so many people with yachts and boats and one friendly bloke (guy) took us out in his yacht!  All we had to do was pile up the fridge with grog (beer).  We stocked up and we were off!   Fishing, snorkeling, and island hopping filled our days and we had a blast.  We had lunch on Long Island and dinner on Hamilton Island.  We rented buggy's and toured around Hamilton Island for a few hours which was also fun! Australia is amazing!

Fishing....... and you don't have to hold the poles!!!

Buggy riding at Hamilton Island

The kitchen

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Snakes on Campus

Today as we walked to the lab we noticed something rather huge under the bridge.  A Python has just finished a meal. We are guessing it was a bush turkey.  Either that or a small person!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Things we've learned to live with

1. Ants in our pants.................literally they are everywhere.
2. Beef Jerky chicken for dinner often.  We are still chewing.
3. Living in a tiny room together.
4. College kids everywhere and we thought the ants were bad!!!
5. 7 dollar coffee breaks.
6. 50% of us have internet---JCU Technology fail!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Australian Lingo

jumper (sweatshirt lol)

joggers (not sneakers,  we don't sneak around in them.)
Often we find ourselves laughing hysterically when we speak with Australians.  Luckily we have made some friends who have enlightened us to the hilarious terminology down under.  We also learned if a word can be shortened it is for example.....

brekkie- breakfast
uni-the university
bevvy- beverage
sunnies- sunglasses
whacka- idiot
bathers- bathing suit
pokies- slot machines
mozzies- mosquitoes
roadie- beer you take with you
shelia- woman
pommy shower- using deodorant instead of taking a shower
Hit the froggin toad- hit the road
root- a polite curse word "root off"
bugger- still not sure but we think it is a term of endearment
kangaroos loose in the top paddock- lost your marbles
bring your own grog bludger- bring your own beer moocher
amber fluid- beer

 The funniest of the funny........................................
budgee smugglers (speedo's)

mystery bags (yes it is found on the menu)