Author Archive | Melissae Fellet

Sea otter with urchin Credit: matt knoth (Flickr)

Sea otter death….and life!

Last fall, our class visited the sea otter researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Sandeep summarized many neat tidbits about otters from that trip on this blog. Two items that really piqued my interest involved otter mortality. In California, many otters die from disease or shark bite. What’s going on? I tracked down the answer during…

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Marvelous mentors at AAAS

Where there are science writers, there’s schmoozing. And parties during the AAAS meeting last week elevated the evening social gathering to a new standard of sophistication. One event, at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, D.C., featured fancy finger food and cocktails in test tubes. At another, waiters served bison sausage with jelly. But my favorite…

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Etherial sounds from a glass harmonica

The Santa Cruz Baroque festival features a glass harmonica player in a February 12th concert. We’ve all rubbed a wet finger around the rim of a goblet just to hear it hum. This instrument works on the same principle. Many bowls, each tuned to a precise note, are nested along a rotating horizontal rod. A musician…

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Following the story

Early in the quarter, I wrote that becoming a writer felt like learning how to swim. Now, after two months of daily lessons, I’ve taken off my water wings and I’m happily paddling around. An experience this week showed me that I can still swim even if breaking news pushes me into the deep end…

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Crab pot corrosion control

We went on a class outing to the Santa Cruz Harbor last week. Our goal: Find crab fishermen and learn about their catch during the first two weeks of crab season. Biggie, a friendly sport fisherman in the bait shop, declared himself our teacher and gave us a lesson about the features of a crab pot….

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Wonderful, wandering wolverines

I watched a fantastic Nature special on PBS this week about wolverines. I always thought of these critters as small bears with exceptionally angry attitudes. But they’re actually quite fascinating. First off, the wolverine is a weasel, not a bear. They’ll kill and eat deer, small bears, and rodents; meat scavenged from a carcass makes…

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Science has gone to the…cats?

Full disclosure: I’m a dog person. (So is Sascha.) I love their exuberance. Excessive tail wags radiate into full body wiggles. At dinnertime, table  manners are optional as they snarf their food. And then there are cats. From my cat-ownership experience, felines are completely aloof and obsessed with cleanliness. They eat dinner one nugget at…

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Perhaps Sinatra didn’t know about E. coli…

…or else these would have been the lyrics to “Strangers in the Night.” The opening party for the National Association of Science Writers annual meeting was Friday. A folk singer, a classical guitar/opera duo, and an astronomical a cappella group serenaded about 600 science writers with songs about science. Some people write about science, others…

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Shellfish-snacking otter sounds

During our class field trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, we learned about the aquarium’s Sea Otter Research and Conservation Program (SORAC). I loved spending time with the researchers watching wild otters hang out in the kelp forest in the bay. But what I was really eager to see was the conservation program.  I wrote…

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