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Pooping sea cucumbers

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Some new aliens in the lab....


A new honours student project to be undertaken by Marina Jourey is to focus on the effects of sea cucumbers (properly known as holothurians and a relative of the more familiar starfish and sea urchins) on sediment biogeochemistry, especially mineralogy.

These poor little chaps (about 10cm long) were taken from the holding tanks the the Ocean Sciences Centre to start a new life among geologists.  These ?Orange Footed Sea Cucumbers normally live attached to rocks offshore Newfoundland.  We are awaiting a taxonomic verdict from our ichnofriend Suzanne Dufour.

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Moving to the earth science department was a little bit of an adventure for them as the chiller malfunctioned and created 10cm of ice on the surface of the tank.

IIA Grants for students to attend Ichnia

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The IIA is offering travel grants for students to attend ICHNIA 2012


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ICHNIA 2012 - Third International Ichnological Congress 

Newfoundland, 11-23 August 2012


The International Ichnological Association is offering travel grants for students to attend to the forthcoming Third International Ichnological Congress ICHNIA 2012 to be held in the Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Canada in August 11-23.

A jolly to Bonne Bay to look for very small clams

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This week Becky, and Jason students of Suzanne Dufour kindly took me on a trip across the island to look for thyasirid clams. I was prepared for cold, unsuprised by ice on the ocean, unfazed by the winch not working, but no-one told me quite how small the little blighters are.


Our largest clam was about 7mm in maximum diameter, the mean size being about 1.5mm, and the smallest (collected primarily to test Jason's microdissection skills) was about 0.5mm. The location of their field area is Bonne Bay Marine Station, which is owned by Memorial University. Usually it is the focus of University and public training sessions but in the early winter there was just us and the year-round staff. Unsuprising really with ice on the bay, air temperatures of about 2oC, and water temperatures which felt like about -1oC.

Opening night for Bell Island Rosselia

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On Saturday we have the premiere of the first reconstructions of our Rosselia-like material from Bell Island.  Michelle Thoms is going to be presenting her preliminary 3D reconstructions of the Bell Island Rosselia from the Grebes Nest Point Formation at the AUGC conference here in Memorial University. 

2702 a grand day out

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Last week the ichnology group took the second years (EASC 2702) to show them some real rocks. I always believe in starting as you mean to go on. They got an introduction to the hydrodynamics of shoreface systems and then snuck in a short visit to Grebes Nest Point to look at the wonderful trace fossils from the Powers Steps Formation and the Grebes Nest Formation as well as the beautiful oolitic ironstones of the Scotia Formation.