For every hour spent doing field work, I probably have around 10 hours of lab work. A common misconception about marine biologists is that we are just diving all day, everyday and then sitting on a remote beach drinking beer. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Although the specific job description varies person to person, research to research, the majority of our time is spent sorting through samples, looking into microscopes, doing other lab work, and then the fun part really comes with the analysis which often involves tricky math and annoying computers. So, while we do get to have some fun and dive in some pretty cool places, there is also a lot more to it.
The above picture was taken last weekend. I was helping out a team of visitors that came to the Red Sea searching for invertebrates. These scientist were really impressive in their dedication to their research. We woke up at 6am, had a quick breakfast, and then headed out to sea to search for critters all day. Then, exhausted from the sun and breathing compressed air, they would return to land to spend another million hours sifting through their sea- finds hoping to spot more bugs.
Expert advice for getting through it: coffee and bluegrass tunes