Walking into Prof. Maslakova’s class, Comparative Embryology and Larval Ecology, was intimidating to say the least. It was one of my first classes at OIMB, and I had little substantive experience in microscopy. The next ten weeks were some of the most rewarding at OIMB, and in my schooling in general. It was a tremendous amount of work outside of the classroom (especially in tandem with Invertebrate Zoology, a pairing I would highly recommend despite the workload), but through that effort I came to get not just a conceptual handle on the way that embryos and larvae behave, differ, and grow, but a hands-on understanding gained through constant field collection and lab manipulation of live organisms.
I really enjoyed this course, it was fascinating seeing the development of marine organisms under the scope, from fertilization to juvenile stage. Raising my own baby sand dollars, urchins, and sea stars, and drawing their development was fun and educational at the same time.