My first two days spent at the New England Aquarium I got to work with the penguins and go collect specimens in the field!
The first day was with the penguins. I arrived at the aquarium around 8 and got started right away on food prep. Most penguins that day were getting fed sardines that day (which they don’t like), so they didn’t eat as much. Although some have a special diet or need certain medicines. Once food prep was done I followed someone around through the African penguins exhibit, I recorded what penguin ate what and how much. After that I got to clean penguin poop and scoop up penguins, a lovely job! I know it doesn’t sound like much, but trust me, there is a LOT more that happens for prep and cleaning. There is truly never a dull moment anywhere in the aquarium. After a short lunch break we then got in for the 2pm feeding. This time I watched and recorded for half the time as somebody fed the little blue penguins, then I got to feed them! Its really amazing trying to feed one penguin as all the others crowd around and want to see what you’re doing. Not to mention all the other ones zooming around in the water around you! What an experience!
The next day, I was able to go out with Jeremy Brodt to a salt marsh/river in Falmouth to do some collecting! We used a seine net, which I actually have used before, as a kid to collect bait today was a little more scientific than those childhood days. Our first few passes with the net were very successful; we pulled in tons of minnows (or, more scientifically, silversides, striped killifish, mummichogs, and shrimp). After quite a while we managed to collect a lot more exotic species, including, sea robins, pipefish, oyster toadfish, and even some needlefish! In addition to seining, we did a little bit of snorkeling down the river. Viz was pretty bad, but we still managed to see tons of life, all sorts of little minows and even a few larger fishes. Overall it was a beautiful day and it truly brought back some childhood memories while running the net!