Thursday, October 2, 2008

not just rats and mice

This semester I'm taking a class about using animals in research. I have to take it in order to graduate so I figured I'd just get it out of the way now. The vast majority of animal research here at UBC happens in labs and so the majority of things covered in the class don't apply at all to my particular research circumstances.

Today we toured one of the animal research facilities and learned about their protocols. A veterinarian was leading my group which also had two of my ecologist friends. The beginning of the tour went something like this:

Vet: So is everyone here working with rats and mice?
Mostly silence from the group and the ecologists shake their heads.
Vet: Really? What fields are you all in? Raise your hand if you're working in neurology.
A couple of hands are raised.
Vet: Cancer?
A few more hands.
Vet: Epidemiology?
A few more hands.
Vet, slightly baffled: Well, what are the rest of you studying?
Me: Ecology.
Vet: Oh, cancer.
Ecologists give her a strange look (last time I checked I wasn't studying cancer).
Vet: ...Oncology, cancer.
Me: No, eeecology.
Vet: OH! EEE-cology. Wow, that's unusual. I knew this one woman who went to Costa Rica to study birds...

She didn't even ask what kinds of animals we all worked with. I was kind of looking forward to telling her.

(And now, back to my regularly scheduled writing.)


Anne-Marie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anne-Marie said...

Do you have study animals in a lab? Just curious, there are a couple of profs here that study the same taxon as you, one has captives and one doesn't. The one with lab animals is more focused on physiology, though, not so much ecology.

Karina said...

No, no lab studies for me. Even if I were to keep them temporarily captive in Ukenzagapia I'd have to jump through lots more hoops with the animal care people, let alone keeping them captive here! For what I'm doing it only makes sense to work with the critters in the wild.

Transient Theorist said...

There are actually some really cool conceptual overlaps between on-cology and e-cology...

Cancerous cells are just like an invasive species invading your body in a lot of ways. Quite a few of the population dynamics models looking at invasive species and spatial invasions have very strong similarities (ie, same equations, but call the variables different things!).

Pretty sweet, no?