The second run of my experiment took off like a shot! Whereas it took at least six days for larvae to burrow with my first experiment, this second round of larvae got to it in a mere 72 hours! Not only were the larvae quicker to burrow, the number of burrowing individuals has been much higher. While all of this is excellent for data collection, it has made the task of observing and classifying behavior of many larvae, on 36 individual blocks of wood, extremely time consuming. Getting such a high response from my larvae has allowed me to capture some great images and video clips of different classifications of behavior; swimming, crawling, settling, and burrowing. My task this weekend is to sort through to select the images that best convey my observations to use on my research poster, which is due in just over a week!
This week we had the opportunity to share our research with the public at the Charleston Marine Life Center. This was a chance to practice the fine art of talking about technical and extremely specific topics to a broad audience. The visitors I spoke with came from all walks of life; local families, international families, young couples, older couples, retired teachers, post-doc researchers, and many more. Tailoring how you convey your research from one individual to another requires tact. More than anything though, I firmly believe that the level of enthusiasm and passion a presenter has for their research is what will engage an audience and hold their attention. Fortunately, my enthusiasm for these strange little creatures is not in short supply! I got so much joy from sharing my knowledge, getting questions that stumped me, and even the wrinkled noses and “ewww”s when someone took a look at an adult shipworm under the dissecting scope. It is a truly unique creature and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to study it.