23 October, 1998
Today was back to the lab day but that was good. After two days of being in the outdoors I was worn out. I overslept a little this morning, not that anyone is setting a time schedule to start work. I just like to be in the lab by 7:30 am. Today I made it in a few minutes after eight.
I had to work in the "cold" lab today. We actually have two labs where we do our work. The Crary Laboratory Building is built on a hill with three levels being connected by a long sloping hallway. Our main lab is on the uppermost level and the "cold" lab is on the lower level. The view from the lower lab is the best. There is a large window that overlooks McMurdo Sound and you can see 45 miles across to Discovery Mountain and the Royal Range. It is a breathtaking view.
Today was the part of the experiment that I liked the least but it had to be done. There are special cells called chloride cells in the gills of the fish that have to be examined for another part of the research. This requires that the fish be sacrificed in order to remove the gills. I never like killing an animal but it had to be done for the research. Hopefully someone will be able to use this research to better control hypertension in humans.
We did have a little accident today. There are two aquariums here at McMurdo and they are not connected. The other, "old," aquarium is about a half mile down the hill and out by the shore. We store most of our fish at the old aquarium for space. When we are ready for more fish we transport them in 5 gallon thermos containers. Today we loaded up three containers of fish on the back of a truck which had no tailgate. The driver of the truck started backing up too fast and had to come to a sudden stop. The momentum and slick conditions caused one of the containers to go crashing off of the truck. It dumped 14 fish out onto the snow. We quickly picked them up and through them back into the container. I ran them into the aquarium and filled the container with water. We were fortunate in that only two fish died from freezing. You can tell when they get too cold because their eyes turn white. Speaking of fish eyes. The eyes of these fish, bernachii", and tear drop shaped with a narrow band of gold around a black iris. I have never seen fish with anything but round eyes. They are very strange looking. It almost gives them personality.
Well I am rambling. It is midnight and I need to get some sleep so I will close for another day. Sunday we will be headed back out into the field so I should have more stories to tell then. Bye for now.
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