Saturday, October 29, 2011

habitat ~ 10/29/11 ~ Hopkins Marine Station

Stanford University Hopkins Marine Station
October 29, 2011

This past Saturday, they held a rare Open House. Andy heard they do this about once every 5 years. It was a treat to go behind the scenes.

Up until now, the only Hopkins Marine Station location posts on Nature ID have been done outside the fence, essentially from the Monterey Bay Recreation Trail. Being neighbors to the very popular Monterey Bay Aquarium and all the tourists, they're extra diligent keeping people out with fences and coded gates. I know, because I was kicked out during one of my morning walks. Hey, the gate was open one day, and I was curious to see the views.

I haven't yet decided if I'll blog about the different labs I visited, including Andy's running friend whom I've only heard "works at Hopkins." Little did I know he seems to have written half the books in their library. After meeting various people at the Open House stations, I was very impressed with the squid researcher. He took my questions seriously and looked me in the eye when he spoke. Plus, his grad student seemed to be well-versed in his topic and knew when to defer to his PI. I was a bit disappointed to not meet Dr. Watanabe whose SeaNet site I frequently link to in many of my marine ID posts.

It's too bad I get extremely sea sick, otherwise I might consider marine biology as a postgraduate option. Having grown up in CA, Stanford and UC Berkeley were the only two colleges I wanted to attend because of their reputations and prestige. It's interesting for me to see now how it's not so much the university, but each advisor's personality that makes a difference.


Imperfect and tense said...

Grad students and ID skills do often seem to be strangers these days. It's a shame really, as how can anyone spout forth on the latest research if they don't know what they're looking at? I reckon that any academic institution worth its salt should be honoured to have you as a student.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Thank you, Graeme. It sounds like you have some opinions about this. I edited the above, b/c my better half thought I was being too critical of the folks at Hopkins.

Imperfect and tense said...

Of course I have opinions. Our Lass tells me when I am allowed to have them! Oo, and spousal censorship, there's a touchy subject :o)

I wonder if too much emphasis is put on narrowing the field of expertise when it comes to degree courses. But I do hear some horror stories about post grads working in areas where they struggle to show competent ID skills :o(

Dawn said...

I do believe that if a gate is left is necessary to follow through and see what lies beyond. I'm glad you strolled in;)

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Graeme, this is the first time Andy has ever said anything to me re: my blog. I'll admit I was a bit surprised at the lack of general knowledge some of the grad students seemed to have, this being Stanford and the cream of the crop - of course, they could have been fatigued after a whole day of answering questions.

Dawn, ha!, not much keeps me out of places. Shhh, don't tell anyone.