Jun 17, 2009

That's the smell of desire, my lady.

Yeah, so we did some offshore sampling out of Orange Beach, AL last week for some reef fish. We're conducting a study looking at hook sizes/types, reef types, and fish size. We ended up catching a ton of fish to bring back to the lab for processing. We took otoliths, guts, and tissue samples from several species of snapper, grouper, jacks, and grunts. This was on a Friday.

Our fisheries lab is within the General Biology Building on campus and we do alot of fish processing on the premises. All of the fish "leftovers" usually end up in the dumpster behind the building. And of course a ripe, foul stench usually follows suit after a day or two. Everyone else in the building knows its us, and they kind of deal with it. The dumpster gets emptied twice a week, so it usually doesn't get that bad.

We finish up the processing and the fish parts go into the good ole' dumpster. I left that afternoon to go out of town on a weekend trip to see the family. I didn't get back until Monday afternoon, at which time I was assaulted with phone calls and emails about a very smelly incident up at the building. Apparently the heat index over the weekend soared to over 100 degrees. The bag that the fish goodies were in had been split open due to some local wildlife, and the smell coming out of that hellish dumpster could literally melt your face off. It could gag a maggot.

My favorite email came from the Director of Biology:

Hear Ye, Hear Ye. No animal carcasses are to be placed in the dumpster at the back of the biology Bldg. Please keep in mind that the air intake for the AC system is located over the loading dock and sucks all smells into offices, halls and ultimately classrooms in Bldg 58.

Yes, not only was the god awful fish funk on the outside of the building, but it crept its way up into the A/C and into the building. The WHOLE building was defiled. Luckily, the dumpster pickup is on Tuesdays. I bet the guy driving the garbage truck had to hold his breath for that one. The source of the smell disappeared, but the building still embraces a faint waft of fish death.

Sorry for violating your nostrils everyone.

I'll find another dumpster next time =)


  1. Bad news bears!

    There are some contractor trash bags in the first cabinet by the door. I got them after the king mackerel incident of 2006. If you double bag it the smell is usually contained.

    -The small bossy one

  2. I'm so glad Kate directed me to this new diversion of yours... You can always try my method of leaving all the caracasses in the freezer indefinitely until the door won't close and wait until Tuna tells you to hurry up and clean it out.

  3. Nice Dustin! Wetlands lab (where we usually threw everything) made me freeze everything and then wait till trash day to dump them. But I always got blamed for certain others dumping their carcasses there. Nice blog too and congrats on finishing your thesis :D

  4. I just wanted to be a minion too

  5. Suzi, I remember that...

    Dustin, just blame it on JoJo the Tether-Monkey.