The invertebrate zoology debacle

N. Riser nriser at
Fri Apr 2 21:42:53 EST 2004

To my peers;

I was allowed to keep my research space in order to serve as a "resource". 
Thus, I continually have student, researchers, etc coming in for advice from 
the various colleges and research facilities in the area.  I am by training a 
comparative animal histologist, but my research has dealt primarily with 
morphology and taxonomy of "worms", and i have been active for over fifty 
years with invertebrates of New England.  So, it is what part of the animal am 
I working on, or what animal is it I am using or have found?  They have been 
coming to me with those questions for many years now.  

There was a time when PhD candidates in biology, Zoology, and Botany were 
required to take course work at a field station in order for them to work with 
live animals to see the diversity of life; to see the complexity of life.  
They learned "organismic" biology.  Such experience is now considered to be 
"old hat" and "old coots" like me are simply to be tolerated.  My question is 
...What are they going to do when we "old coots" are gone.  If you don't know 
what part of the animal you are working with or what the animal is or does, I 
wonder what value your work is, and how the H... are you going to do anything 
about or with the environment? Come sit on the beach and I will tell you about 
how many individuals and species you are sitting on.  

You will learn about "this Wormy World" and why this beach is healthy or 
unhealthy.  The worms tell me things even if I can not talk to them.  

N. W. "Pete" Riser Nathan W. Riser Prof. (Emeritus) Mar. Biol. MSC 
Northeastern University Nahant, MA 01908

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