Gatherin Anemones in Dar Bu'azza

Today we went off to the beach on a mini-field trip for my Marine Biology class- 4 students only- to observe and gather anemones. Took time off from the Honors Marine Bio class and the subsequent lunch to go to the beach which is now 10 minutes from school. We searched all over a very well scoured area- many men go there to gather invertebrates to sell in a country with 30% unemployment- and finally found one. I had them do a transection- observing all species around the anemone to get an idea of the habitat, as well as looking at vertical zonation of different species. For most of them, it was their first time even touching an anemone. Not a lot of specimens found- there was a large bulbous object that the students had no idea what it was, and were asking me about it. I picked it up and discovered it was a large conglomeration of...waste. From a horse ... I hope. :-(

They really enjoyed eating lunch out there as they took data. It was quiet and relaxing, and a welcome break from normal school. And then, at the last moment, with only 5 minutes to spare, we became late for class, when one student discovered a treasure trove of specimens- about 15 in all. I'll post a picture tomorrow of what they look like in the specimen jars. We brought them back, very excitedly, to dissect tomorrow, and observe how their poisoness stinger cells in the tentacles (the fastest known biological action) release in response to salt and vinegar, and what they look like in prepared slides. It was really sweet how excited Zouheir was as he found each one. "Ustad!" (Teacher) "There's one!" "Ustad- there's another one! There's two!" "Ustad, there's three!" "Ustad, there's four! Four anemones!" He continued so long we nicknamed him the Count...

Christmas is coming up, and I hope all is well with those reading this blog. I stopped by the embassy yesterday, and it looks like all is on target to renew my passport, which expires in 5 months. I need to renew it as the country I'm going to, hopefully, requires a valid passport, I believe, over 6 months from the end date. Insha'allah, I'm going to Yemen over Christmas. I hear it's a nice place for Christmas...I've long wanted to go, and I want to check out the lay of the land. I am told as an American I can get a passport at the airport, along with money and a notification of where I'm staying. Hopefully, that will work out well- please pray that it does.


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