Welcome back! Last weekend was very productive, pretty much all the set-up is done!
Here’s a recap of my week.
The REU’s have research proposals for our projects due this Wednesday, so much of my Monday was consumed in writing. It was incredibly helpful writing out what I want to do, even if I don’t end up following it closely. It is reassuring to have a rough outline of the plan, especially since I’m halfway done here!
The tides are very good this week, so after the loss of last week I will attempt to replenish my stocks in the nice morning lows. This morning was not as fruitful as hoped, but I did find a different species of isopod. I had yet to see two different species of isopod cohabitate, so this was especially exciting!
The saying ‘back to the old grind’ really hit home today. I freeze dried about 4 beakers full of algae over the weekend to feed the isopods during the experiment. To feed a consistent amount of algae per isopod, I ground up the dried algae into a uniform size. Sounds easy enough, right? Well that took me about 5 hours, and there are still 2 beakers left. If anyone ever tells you science is quick, they are lying.
This morning I put everything into the cold room to prepare as much as I could beforehand. I put up trash bags to block out as much light and set up hoses for air to get to the animals. This afternoon we met Jan Hodder and she showed us resources for finding jobs and internships we could use in the future. This will probably be the most helpful list of websites I will ever own in my life. After that, half of the REUs informally presented on their projects. It is so cool to hear what everyone is doing, and I cannot wait to see the results of everyone’s work! The seminar this week was about deep sea algae and its evolution, presented by Dr. Rick Zechman. I never thought I would be one to love algae, but I am learning more and more that I really, really like algae.
Set-up is as done as it can possibly be, but I couldn’t start just yet as it was too bright in the lab to take pictures of the isopods. For dinner the REUs were invited to Jan Hodder’s house for a tuna BBQ. Once we got back it was finally dark enough to start! Took till about midnight, and that was only half of the isopods, so the rest will get done this weekend! While the experience of being in a lab till midnight is super spooky, it becomes worth it when you can blast your music and have a one-woman show while working.
Another fun installment to the baby-saga, another mom had some more! Pray to the isopod gods that these babies will make it.
The REUs headed out to the Eugene campus today for a tour of some of the labs and to visit the Museum of Natural History. The museum had life-size models of sabertooth salmon and ground sloths, which were my favorite parts of the exhibit. Seeing the sheer size of ancient animals still blows my mind as to what the world must have been like. The labs at Eugene were under construction, but we got to see a few that were still running and hear about what some of the grad students are working on. It is incredible work, and it’s a bit intimidating to hear the extent of what they do. Our guide, another grad student, mentioned that she worked on a design to hold nematodes for an entire year, and that gave me some hope that my lollygagging on starting my project will not be the end of me. Of course, we stopped at trader joes on the way back and I was able to get my vegetarian marshmallows, all in all a good day.
That’s the recap! This weekend’s goal is to have the experiment up and running by Monday at the latest, so on that note I’m going to get to work and I will be back in a week!
Welcome! I grew up in Livermore, California and I’m about to enter my fourth and final year at University of California, Davis as an Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity major. As far as science goes my interest are in marine ecology and studying how the organisms that reside in the ocean interact with each other and their environment. I keep this as broad as possible because I am still exploring what is out there in terms of research and what I’m interested in. I heard about REUs in general from a fellow marine biologist back in Davis, so I decided to consider them for this summer. I applied to a ton of places and kept my fingers crossed I could get into one, and I did! Being able to conduct my own research was a highlight of REUs that sparked my interest and I’m very excited to be able to participate and be around like-minded individuals for 9 weeks.