Mariano on Being a Marine Biologist
| December 13, 2010

Coming out with basic information on Marine Science is my job. Standing up in front to people and trying to show them how the underwater world that I have been studying for the last 15 years is beautiful. But every single second of my life I discover that it will be not enough time in one life to learn even the 1% of all that knowledge. I scratch just the surface of the thousands of subjects that the planet earth offers to me, to us, day by day.

Study is one thing and live the experience in another … how many oceanographers can say that they have been inside a small sphere under 11,000 thousand m in the Marianna trench? And who has managed with their own hands a tusk of Narval? Or touched the deposit of millions years of Bentic plankton? Marine Biologist is a general term that we use to indicate people that study “one” or a “few” of the subjects related to the oceans. Like I suggested in the beginning, a lifetime is not enough … so is a continuous “keep go on.”

The learning process never stops. Doing so is the only way to try to enlarge the point of view and have a better, wider vision of the subject. The library is full of books, but to be there … on the field … after the theory … the other sense are alerted now: smell, close vision, touch, feel with your own hands, see the color trough the air and not from a picture with printed colors … be in the same water where those organism live and be literary part of their environment, their game. I never stop being attracted by them and even on holiday I can’t say “NO” when something happens. So this summer during my vacation I contacted the CIMA Foundation in Savona and the same day that I was there to speak with dott. Aurelie Moulins in order to try to organize a series of professional cetacean watchings on the Royal Clipper for the next summer season on the Med, she receive a phone call about a stranding on the Ligurian coast line. In few minutes with her colleague dott. Massimiliano Rosso we joined the beach and collect one juvenile of Stenella coeruleoalba, a common dolphin in the Med. We transported it to the lab and then they try to figure out why he died.

It’s a different feeling, just touching a live body, for another experience later on in the summer in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where new friends utilize dolphins in captivity from a delfinarium for pet therapy with Down and Autistic people. This relation is fantastic. The dolphin approaches this guy and starts to transmit bio-sonar impulses that in a certain way — we’re not fully clarified how — calms the subject. Usually a sense of peace and sometimes a big smile appears on the face of those women or men, adults or children.

Usually they use bottle nose dolphins, Tursiops truncatos, and let me tell you, they are huge … some males can easily arrive up to 400 kg and when they allow you to give them a big hug … it’s probably the same experience that a car lovers can have when they can drive a Ferrari 300 km over the speed limit … but here it’s the animal that interact with you, blubber, bones and brain, not just wires, metal and oil … actually probably the same molecules, but different structures if you allow me the comparison.

I do not now which one I was playing … that dolphin in certain way accepts me in his world, it’s better and easier than many biped mammals that I know.

If being a Conservationist can help to better understand why the first dolphin stranded on the beach this summer or how the bio-sonar can help people with certain problems … let’s be a Conservationist and do our best at least to try. From my side. What about yours?

Mariano Peruzzo
Marine Biologist
Genova

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3 Comments »

  1. Nancy Birnbaum Said,

    December 17, 2010 @ 9:36 pm

    OMG! I am so jealous! Perhaps I should have stayed with Marine Biology at University! I loved studying Cetacea. Loved it!
    Terrific Blog, Mariano. Thank you so much!
    Ciao & Happy Holidays!
    (Oh, I’m on the Star Clipper in CR in January. Can’t wait.)

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  3. admincindy Said,

    February 1, 2017 @ 7:26 pm

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