This semester I am taking: Chemistry I, Fisheries Science, Evolutionary Biology, and Herpetology. It’s not a bad schedule, and they’re all pretty interesting. Although, Chem I is going to give me a run for my money!!!
I’m also an officer for our student chapter of The Wildlife Society on campus. We have a great club, and we’re really active on campus and in our community. It takes some work to manage the club because we are so active and our department faculty really impress on us the importance of an active chapter.
Last week in Fisheries Science we began learning about standard methods of “sampling” for fish. This is so an agency, for example, in Nebraska can conduct a research project similar to one running in New York, and we can compare data because it’s been taken in a standard way. Our first lab for the class entailed us driving over to Otsego Lake to conduct ice angler surveys. We’re interested in how much in resources (time and money) anglers are investing in their fishing trips, as well as what kinds/ages/sizes of fish they’re catching. We have the opportunity to go out on our own for extra credit, so my friend Ben and I headed out immediately after class, and spent all day Saturday on the ice of Otsego Lake.
In Evolutionary Biology we’re reading this fascinating book, “The Naked Ape” by Desmond Morris.
It’s so interesting to read about ourselves in a totally different way. It was published in 1967, so it’s dated, and theories have changed. Regardless, read it. It will make you think about where we came from, how we got “here”, why we are the way we are.
I purchased it for the Kindle app and have it on my iPad, which is making for a whole new reading experience. Normally I like to read a physical book, but for my last semester, I decided to purchase as many books as I could via Kindle and just tote around my iPad. Six books cost me $63, and the iPad is less than a pound. I wish I had been able to do this from the beginning!
In herpetology last week we learned how to “probe” a snake to determine it’s sex. I have to say, I’m not a “herp” person. I like salamanders and turtles, I don’t mind frogs or toads, but I really don’t like snakes or lizards. It’s not that I’m afraid of them in the sense of getting bitten or scratched, it’s that I imagine them to be crawling with germs. I’m sure mammals have just as much or more germs, I just have this irrational thought in my head that I WILL get salmonella or coccidiosis when handling a herp. SO, when Dr. Losito asked who wanted to probe a snake first, I volunteered right off the bat. I wanted to prove to myself and others that I could do it, and guess what: I’m still alive.
To be brief, a small metal probe is inserted in the vent of the snake, and you kind of feel around in there for resistance. If you meet resistance, it’s a female. If not, it’s a male. We have a nice collection of snakes and turtles at SUNY Cobleskill used for teaching and for community outreach. I’m eager to learn more about them.
I’ve had this beautiful Red-bellied Woodpecker visiting my feeders lately as well. I love watching the birds come!
(PS I just set up a camera trap in a really neat spot…hopefully I will have something cool to report in a few days!)