28 April 2008

Woods Hole: via Boston

I was honored to participate again this year in the New England Workshop on Science and Social Change in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Woods Hole is a 2-hour bus ride from Boston, and so I had some time to visit my daughter, Emily Munday, who is a sophomore in the Marine Biology program at Boston University (BU).

We met for a quick coffee and bagel at one of Boston's ubiquitous Dunkin' Donuts shop. Emily invited me to attend a seminar on lobster research by one of Professor Jelle Atema's graduate students. Before the talk, we had some time to stroll around the BU campus on a beautiful spring day with the cherry and magnolia trees blooming:

BU has some great sculpture, like this one -- "Homage to Durer" by Igael Tumarkin (Albrecht Durer is a favorite artist of mine, and I use his work to illustrate themes of the early scientific revolution):

Here's another nice piece, titled "Exlplosion" -- in front of the Science Building, of course:

And, in the basement of the building, boxes of "Instant Ocean" ready to create needed habitat for the lobsters and other marine critters:

It was a great seminar, and I was able to connect a lot of the ideas about lobster genetics, local population differences, and loyalty to particular local environments (the larva, after dispersal by ocean currents, find their way back "home") to things I've learned about freshwater fish. What I did not (and it's a specialty of Dr. Jelle and his students) is the incredible ability of lobster to sniff out not just chemical sensors that mark home water, but also things like a male lobster that loses a fight. Cool stuff, and it makes me wonder if salmonids don't have the same ability, given their tendency to sort out into particular "stations" with very little aggressive interaction.

After a long quest on the Orange Line trolley and a bus (we were in search of the Museum of Bad Art -- EVERYONE should visit while in Boston), it was time to find supper before I caught the bus to Woods Hole. And what a sumptuous meal it was, at a humble place on the waterfront called the Barking Crab:

We had some great raw oysters (they had some really good "briny" tasting ones) and a couple of pounds of Dungeness crab (and, for me, a couple of pints of Harpoon IPA--my favorite beer when I'm in the Boston 'hood). The place was packed, but the waiter made a spot for us at the bar so we did not have to wait and I could make my bus (note the rock -- that's the Barking Crab version of a claw cracker):

Happy place. Good food. Great company. EcoRover can't wait to eat there with Jan Munday when BU hosts the Northeast Conference swimming championships next year!

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