Today we traveled from Beijing back to Wuxi on the bullet train. Staff from the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences picked us up at our hotel and drove us to the Beijing South Railway Station. This was unexpected. Very nice of them! They were worried about us getting hung-up in the morning subway rush, and from my first-hand experience 2-days before, I know why. Again, the hospitality and thoughtfulness here are remarkable. Will make me re-double my efforts to be a good host for our future guests.
We worked our way through morning traffic for 30 minutes or so to the station, for me, another chance to look around and see Beijing one last time. I really liked this place, the energy, the mix of the modern with its rich history.
Passing by the 2008 Olympic Village and a view of the “Bird Nest”.
Beijing South is nice. You walk in, the security check is smooth, the light from the vaulted ceiling is relaxing, plenty of seating and space for everyone to stretch-out and wait for the train, another example of China doing big things.
Inside the Beijing South Railway Station
The train ride back to Wuxi was relaxing. Quiet. Everyone was tired from a long couple of days. But I had time to think about my trip and jot down some notes. I came here to learn new things about mussels and how to hold them in captivity. Which I did. Chinese biologists hold male and female mussels serving as their propagation broodstock closely together in either suspended nets in ponds or closely together in shallow raceways. Either way provides a setting for the males to fertilize the females in captivity. While simple, this set-up allows them to perpetuate their progeny and genetic lines generation after generation.
In the U.S., mussel hatcheries have made great progress in rearing mussels of numerous species to larger sizes. Sizes suitable for stocking and monitoring in rivers. Hatchery managers are even beginning to see young progeny grow to adults and become gravid at their facilities. Because of these advances, I am optimistic about mussel conservation efforts and what they might mean for the future, such as rebuilding small populations on the brink of extinction and using hatchery reared mussels to understand effects of pollutants in rivers. We have the opportunity and technology to close the reproductive life cycle for many species in captivity. Projects to study and control this process, to make it effective for conservation purposes, are now needed. For very rare species, such advancements may prove critical to their road back to recovery.