[photo credits: 1. illustration, unknown ; 2. ropos submersible image of glass sponge reef, lab of S.P. Leys; 3. me, bubble shell gastropod & 4. me, adult moon snail]
my undergraduate “lightbulb” moment occured in my second year invertebrate zoology course at the university of alberta. i remember sitting in lecture thinking “you mean i can study these critters as a job?!”. my brother and i had been playing in tidepools in roberts creek and in and around vancouver and vancouver island since we were babies, and i always feel like a kid at christmas when i discover a new tidepool to explore.
my undergraduate career, from my second year until my fifth, was focused on marine invertebrate zoology and i volunteered and worked as a research assistant in a sponge biology lab. i attended as many marine biology courses at the bamfield marine sciences centre as i could, some of the best years of my life and where i met some of my most fantastic friends! my honours project focused on the reproduction and development of reef-forming glass sponges and got me out on an oceanographic cruise on the jp tully, the canadian coast guard research vessel that deploys the ropos submersible. this submersible was used to collect my samples and images that i used to write my undergrad thesis.
from sponges to snails, when i moved to victoria to start my masters, i began work on sea snails or gastropods. i’ve been raising them and studying them now for nearly 3 years and am now working on finishing up my thesis! finally! living in victoria has allowed me to go on many intertidal field trips, seeing weird and wonderful invertebrates along the way (and a few vertebrates)! one thing that keeps me always in love with invertebrates is that, even though i’ve been studying them in my university career for nearly a decade and loving them all of my life, i can learn something new every day and can see species i’ve never seen before any intertidaling trip! i’ll post inverts that amaze me every so often on my blog! 🙂