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.