Posted by: Jill | October 18, 2011

Listening to bossa nova counts as research prep

Well, this is new. Usually, I prepare for a research trip by packing my scuba diving gear, organizing bags and jars for samples, and making a detailed plan of exactly how I will use precious minutes underwater to get the data I need. For the past few weeks, though, I have been preparing for a research trip in an entirely different way: practicing Portuguese, listening to bossa nova music, and debating the merits of Copacabana vs. Ipanema.

My Portuguese skillz: "Is the dog swimming? Yes."

Remember how one of the goals of my last trip to Brazil was to build collaborations with Brazilian colleagues? Challenge accepted. Tomorrow I return to Brazil to work with one of the Brazilian professors, Gilberto, at the Rio de Janeiro Jardim Botanico (botanical gardens). I collected dozens of samples of algae from the Abrolhos archipelago in August.

The algae samples are waiting patiently (I hope!) in Gilberto’s lab. I will spend the next couple of weeks working closely with him to analyze the samples. This means long hours at a microscope, hopefully punctuated by some exploring around the city. My primary question is to understand the kinds of algae that grow at the border of coral colonies. My secondary question is how many days it takes to learn to dance the samba.

Wish me luck!

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