Diary as a Physiologist.

9 a.m., I arrived at lab.

Work started off with getting coffee from a small Nespresso machine that everyone in the lab adored. The strong aroma rising from the small espresso cup woke me up. Instantly, I felt my eyes becoming more focused. I was ready to learn more about FISH.

Valentina DiSanto, my research mentor, walked me to her cubicle, and we started discussing possible research projects that she had in mind for me.

Having very limited knowledge about fish, especially skates, DiSanto’s primary research subject, I had a hard time following and at times thought I was too adventurous when asking to be DiSanto’s research assistant.

But as soon as DiSanto talked about skates, a gleam of passion glistened in her eyes. Immediately, I thought: “I want that kind of passion, too”. Naturally, I was immersed in an unfamiliar topic about fish.

DiSanto decided that I could help with a project on little skates.

The project is to find the metabolic rate of skates when they swim at different speeds, and when they’re at rest.

My role for the day was to help monitoring the speed, temperature of the flow tank where the fish was allowed to swim. So, I spent most of the time looking at the skates, making sure that when they swim, they wouldn’t do this:

 

This was to ensure that the data we got was significant, which avoided wasteful repetition.

Worried that I would be bored, DiSanto gave me several research papers on skates for me to study. The papers were packed with fascinating information about skates, a creature I hardly knew. I realized then that there’s so much about the ocean that I never considered beyond the beach I often visit with my family.

A different world opened its doors to me.

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