This week was a week full of exploration and learning. I was able to learn about several machines, processes, and software applications. It was a largely mild week, but an incredibly useful week.
Since we have so many crabs in the lab, we all had to do some research on Dungeness crab husbandry. Dungeness crabs are cannibalistic, but we need lots of crabs for our ocean acidification experiments and can't have them eat each other; Julie had some clam meat we could feed them, and we were given dried fish guts to make food pellets out of. We have yet to make the pellets, but the crabs love the clam meat. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop them from eating each other. After the crabs molt, they are super soft and squishy, and are an easy meal. Erica created a feeding and observation schedule to reduce their cannibalism as much as we can.
Aside from learning how vicious crabs can be, I learned more about how the automatic titrator and spectrophotometer work. The titrator—named Frank--has fancy, expensive software that it speaks to. From the software, we get all kinds of super precise measurements that we use to calculate the water's total alkalinity using a pre-made Excel file. The spectrophotometer is much less fancy but isn't less useful. By adding dye to our water sample, the spectrophotometer can help us calculate the pH of the water, based on how much light is able to pass through the sample. I've been told that I will have to use both machines extensively, so I am glad I have had this time to play around with random samples.
For my experiment, I have finally completed the scent-based setup of it; my laminar flow tube produces a laminar stream of water and my maze is leak-proof. I have all my isopods sitting in the halfway house, preparing for isolation. I need to solve some physics issues I have with my visual setups, but I can reliably test the isopods' olfaction next week.
Hopefully next week I can put some pictures of my experiment at work in my blog!