Monday, 26 March 2007

On Friday afternoon, I'll be showing a bunch of students how to dissect a mussel. They've never done a bivalve dissection before and—now I think about it—neither have I*. This is going to be fun.

These students will be looking at the biology of a native marine bivalve. Their projects will require them to look at the gross and fine anatomy of the gills (easy), guts and gonads (not so easy). Rather than sacrifice a bunch of wild-collected animals, they'll be practicing on farmed Mytilus. This makes life easier for a number of reasons, not least of all because the mussels are about three times the size of the species we'll be looking at and there are plenty of decent dissection guides.

While the undergrads are getting used to working their way around any old bivalve's innards, I'll be spending time familiarising myself with the species that will form their study. We'll be heading down the western side of Port Phillip Bay on Friday morning to check on some prospective research sites. I'll make sure I get photos. And I'll keep you informed about the project's progress.

Depending on how the students go, we might be able to squeeze out a paper. That'd be cool.

* Okay, I have. But it was on the other side of the iridium anomaly.



I've never dissected a bivalve either. Post some pictures of mussel innards.

Snail said...

Will do. I might bring a few mussels home for din ... dissection.

Trevor said...

The "iridium anomaly" - er... when exactly was that? A few weeks ago? Or longer? When I don't perform a task for a while and then am faced with showing someone how to do it I go all wobbly at the knees - could I call this the "knee wobbly anomaly"?

Snail said...

About 65 million years ago! It's one of the indicators of the asteroid impact that kicked off the demise of the dinosaurs.

Once upon a time I would have been worried about making a goose of myself by messing up this dissection but we'll see ...

Got to check out the study site at Corio Bay tomorrow and it's going to be about 18C, wet and windy. I might not get into the water.