Friday, February 5, 2016

Look at the stars: Part 2

"I lie under starlit sky
And the seasons change in the blink of an eye
I watch as the planets turn
And the old stars die and the young stars burn"
- "Lonesome Dreams" by Lord Huron

Luciana and I on one of her last
nights in Oregon.
Dear friends, this week has been an eventful one at OIMB. We've had two birthdays and a farewell party, and there's a thesis defense coming up later this afternoon. The farewell was for Luciana, a post-doc and my labmate. She had been with us for 6 months, having received a grant from the government of her native Portugal to come do research abroad. She was with us on the Atlantis cruise this summer, and she spent her time in the lab afterward working up her samples.

The great thing about deep-sea biology is that's it's a small community - small enough that I will most likely see Luciana again. We will run into each other at conferences, on research ships - it's almost certain our paths will cross in the future. We've even talked about doing a collaborative project together someday. I miss her now, but I can look forward to seeing Luciana again.

As one post-doc made her departure from Oregon, another one also arrived. I haven't met the new one yet, but I know she'll be working on trophic ecology in another faculty member's lab. I'll stop by her office and introduce myself later today. Then this afternoon, a Ph.D. student will defend her thesis on nemertean taxonomy, and the endless shuffle of students will continue. As I watch the students above me defend and graduate, it feels almost like layers of ceiling are being peeled off above my head. One by one, those who began their degrees before me are finishing them and moving on, and soon enough it will be my turn.

I'm still working on my review paper, the introduction to my thesis, but every day I get closer to having a finished product. My ideas are taking shape, and soon I will be able to make my scientific statement to the world. I look forward to that day when the last layer disappears and my head emerges from the roof. Because then I will really see the stars.

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