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Meet Rebecca McMullin


Masters Student

Job description: 

Being a masters student involves a bit of field work (Antarctica!), some lab work (dissecting fish, grinding up samples, preparing and reading otoliths, preparing gonad tissue for microscopy) and some writing (report, posters, presentations etc.)

Work background: 

As well as being a university student I have worked on farms, and as a field assistant monitoring the behavior and breeding success of the South Island robin.

Favourite part of job: 

Being out in the field.

Least favourite part of job: 

Presentations and writing reports.

What I am working on now: 

My masters’ project: “Patterns of resource use by ice fish along the sea ice gradient in Antarctica”.

A quick story about a job well done: 

Tackling a sheep which escaped in the wool shed during docking.A rewarding experience for me was when I collecedt blood from a juvenile robin for the first time when working on a summer project monitoring the South Island robins at Orokonui ecosanctuary. I was a bit nervous with the bird having such tiny veins, and it can be tricky holding them in the right position while they are flapping about, but the blood collection was successful.  

A (humorous) story about a job that went badly and what you learned: 

I was helping out a girl in my marine science class. We were planning to collect sediment samples from Tomahawk lagoon in Dunedin. It was two of us in a one man kayak and as we were paddling out into the lagoon the wind picked up like crazy. We just kept getting further away from where we needed to go and despite paddling hard we were going backwards. Somehow we managed not to flip the kayak, which was lucky considering the 5°C water. We got back to shore, unfortunately without the samples. It was a bit of a disaster but pretty funny at the same time. What I learned was to be prepared for any weather conditions when working in the field and also that I need to work on my upper body strength for paddling kayaks against the wind.

  • Bachelor of Science majoring in Zoology and Genetics
  • Part way through my masters in Marine Science
Interests outside work: 

Diving, tramping, camping.

Rebecca McMullin is a Masters Student at the University of Otago.