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27 August 2011

Back From Maine and Into the Hurricane

On Thursday, I returned from my work in Maine to find my home under threat from Hurricane Irene.  It doesn't look like we'll get hit hard (it's a category one now, and we're only going to see the outskirts of it), but we'll probably lose power and if power outages are wide spread it may be a few days before we see light again.  We're hunkering down, and all we can do is wait and see how it goes.  I'll know more tomorrow morning, I guess. 

As for Maine, it was a great time.  Relaxing, but also productive.  My goal up there was to get some information on the bloodworm industry for a project I'm working on about invasive species and the packing material they use to ship the worms in.  The packing material is actually a weed, similar to the seaweed you see on all of the rocky beaches of Maine (the only difference is that worm weed is not attached, whereas rockweed is).  This stuff is great for shipping bloodworms because it's very effective at keeping them alive.  Unfortunately, it's also very effective at keeping other critters alive as well - critters that could potentially become invasive in the mid-Atlantic region.  So what we're trying to do is figure out ways to prevent the introduction of these critters by changing the packing material, by informing bait dealers and anglers of proper disposal methods (in the garbage, not in the water), and anything else we can come up with.  We want these to be effective methods, but also to avoid doing significant damage to the industry, since it's a cottage industry that keeps a lot of otherwise unemployed people working and earning a little cash to keep them going.  So we're enlisting their help and input as much as possible to figure out what we can do.  It's been interesting and I've learned a lot more about bloodworms than I ever thought I would know!

The semester will be starting soon, and it's looking to be a busy one between the worms project, teaching (biological anthropology this semester with three 2 hour labs per week), and just general school work.  I'm going to try to be more productive this year - meaning more writing on here and more articles - but it's going to be tough.  This is it, though, I feel like I'm getting real practical experience for a change, and from all of that I should have plenty to say.

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