Isolated in the Farallons, Biologists Have Bizarre "Island Invasion Dreams"

By Allison Bond | July 29, 2010 2:08 pm

sealScientists stationed on Farallon Islands, which has one of the world’s most delicate ecosystems, don’t just keep tabs on native species such as sea lions and puffins–they’ve also have been recording their dreams for the past two decades. The findings? Dreams that are “eerily similar,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Whether scientists are on the island for a few weeks or… stationed there on and off for a decade, their dreams are filled with marauding kids, terrified shorebirds, forest fires, shark attacks and a healthy dose of the absurd.”

It makes sense that scientists stationed there would have some pretty wacky dreams; after all, they go with essentially no human contact for many weeks on end, and are kept company by not-so-ordinary neighbors such as whales, sharks and up to 500,000 birds. The dreams have been dubbed “island invasion dreams.” The Chronicle describes one such dream:

“One scientist dreamed the biologists played the cormorants in a game of hockey on West End Island, cheered on by a crowd of drunken elephant seals. Another dreamed that interns were thrown to the great white sharks that circle the islands during seal breeding season. Biologist Pete Warzybok once dreamed he saw a flamingo on the island, and then he was suddenly riding in his father’s old 1961 Buick. Next a bum began cleaning the windshield with spit and a dirty rag.”

That leaves us wondering: Do the animals on the island have nightmares about the scientists stationed there?

Related content:
Discoblog: Worst Science Article of the Week: We Can See Your Dreams!
Discoblog: Technicolor Dreams: Study Finds Dream Colors Match Childhood TV Shows
Discoblog: Wacky Theory: Bed Coils Amplify Radio & TV Transmissions and Cause Cancer

Image: flickr / ucumari

MORE ABOUT: dreams, islands, weird
  • Kyle

    Hmmm not sure I’d want to be an intern with that prof who dreamed of the tossing them to the sharks dream.

  • Rhacodactylus

    I suppose that makes sense. I read somewhere that dreams are likely the product of our minds sorting memories for long term storage, if they all had similar input during the day it would stand to reason they would all have similar “sorting” experiences at night.

  • Elle

    I spent 2 summers living in a tent and working in the remote Sierra Nevada mountains as part of a crew of wildlife field technicians. Several times we found that our dreams started to converge, with very similar imagery. I think that it was because we all had nearly identical experiences on any given day.


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