Chestnuts #2–Midseason

After two days of measuring seedlings, two major trends in survival became apparent. First, almost all of the seedlings planted in the forested plots were dead. I also noticed that they tended to die from the top down, with new stems regenerating from near the base of the original stem. Second, and much to my surprise, the fenced-in plots (protected from deer browsing) had actually suffered far higher rates of mortality than the unprotected plots.

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Filtering Procedure

Now that we have samples, the next step is to filter them.  Because organic matter can break down rapidly, runoff samples need to be processed as quickly as possible.  We filter about 150 mL of each sample through 0.7 µm glass fiber filters.  The filters are pre-combusted in a furnace to destroy any organic contaminants.  The filtration apparatus is thoroughly rinsed between each sample.  Ultra pure (Milli-Q) water is passed through the filter paper before any sample.  The filtration is expedited by a vacuum pump (Büchner-style).

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Thermoregulatory Tracing Part III: ISH

In situ Hybridization is the final step of the experiment, but it is also the hardest step.  Although there is a basic outline for ISH protocols, each protocol is customized for the specific probe.  This customization is largely a matter of trial and error, which can be extremely frustrating and time-consuming.  This issue is further compounded by the fact that ISH protocols require three full days to run before any results are seen, making it very possible to make mistakes and thus waste a lot of time and effort.

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Final Post

This will be my last post on the blog. Before getting into my specific research, I’d just like to say that having this opportunity to experience the process of scientific research and gaining exposure to so many new aspects of life in science after college was priceless. The relationships I developed and conversations that I had this summer were as valuable as the actual work that I was doing. I met so many wonderful PhD students and professors who had so much advice  to share and offer. Going into this summer, I had no idea what to expect. The only real lab experience I had was in required pre-med labs, which aren’t “research” based. I was most surprised at how long it takes to make progress. I didn’t realize how many failures there are before one single success. However, when you finally achieve that success it feels amazing and it drives you forward back into the muck of uncertainty. The hardest part is that you put so much effort and time into something that might not even work, but that is just part of the process. One specific conversation that really intrigued me was at Cold Spring Harbor when we all gathered in a circle and talked about ethics and situations that the PhD students were facing. Getting a sense of what the atmosphere is like was helpful. I’m pretty confident that I will not be applying to PhD programs after college; however, I would’t say that it is out of the question someday down the road. Right now, I’m focusing on medical school, but after that there are many options to consider and I’m glad that there are so many options to choose from.

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Gesture Results

I finally have my results. I’ve been rearranging some of the data to see if the data look any different when I tilt my head a certain way, but the truth is I’m not entirely sure what to make of the results. I wrote in a previous blog post about my concerns that co-regulation would not be present in the sakis’ gestures, and I am now even more certain that the sakis did not gesture in a coregulated manner in the time that I observed them, that being said, I still have some interesting (if head-scratching) results that I will be thinking over the next couple weeks as I write-up an article.

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