Daniel Schneider, a BHS biology teacher, has a more interesting past than most of his students know. While attending the University of Minnesota, he went on several research trips to parts of the world that most people from landlocked Minnesota would never get to visit. These trips included visiting Florida to research manatees,visiting the Falkland islands to research fur seals, as well as several local trips to study wolves, ruffed grouse, and wild turkeys.
Out of these research trips, my interview focused on the two biggest trips, studying manatees in Florida, and studying fur seals in the Falkland islands.
When asked which of these trips was his favorite, schneider replied,“That’s a tough one. The Florida trip was more just because of the people. The Falkland trips was more fun because it was more exotic. They were both fun for different reasons”.
The purpose behind the manatee trips was to expand scientific knowledge of manatees by using radio tracking collars that had only recently become available for aquatic animals.
“The thing that stands out with the manatee trip, is sometime in the spring of that year I spent 8 days by myself in a boat following a manatee we thought was headed for the ocean” Schneider said. ”Sleeping when I can, moving 24/7, and then eventually I lost him when the manatee reached salty water.
Schneider’s second major trip was to the Falkland islands, which are off the coast of Argentina. This trip was to study the feeding habits of fur seals, and the possible effects on the seals of humans harvesting krill from the oceans.
“It was a time when the science community was trying to figure out if it was okay to go into the antarctic waters to harvest krill. In the search for an answer they did all these projects all around the world to look at whales, seals, penguins, birds, fish all those things in the antarctic to see how much krill they‘re using,” said Schneider.
When asked why he decided to go on the trip, Schneider replied, “At the time I was stringing tennis rackets with my wildlife degree, so that wasn’t a hard decision.”