Last Week: Dissection and Replica Plating

This past week, I’ve been performing dissections with the yeast I have successfully transformed. Before the yeast can be dissected, they must undergo sporulation, forming four haploid spores. In a dissection, I separate the spores, placing them in columns on a YPD plate. The picture below is from one of the dissections I performed.

[Read more…]

First Set of Samples Processed

I have now finished sampling and digesting all the samples from the Lake Matoaka core and have run them all through the ICP. My graph follows the basic pattern of a Pb concentration graph with depth. My professor Jim Kaste and I were very interested in what looks like a double peak in my data around 20cm. If you look closely you can see there are two recorded Pb concentrations for the depth of 20-21cm. This is because I did some duplicates of randomly chosen depths so that I could compare their values to see if there was error with either the ICP or during the digestion processes. The first 20-21cm sample has a Pb concentration of 110 Micrograms of Pb/ gram of sediment and the second of 133 Micrograms of Pb/ gram of sediment. This is a huge margin of error and causes my data to appear to have a double peak. My professor and I discussed reasons for the large error and we believe that the burn step, where the samples go in the furnace for 6hrs, could be the issue. We are now in the processes of resampling a few samples around the peak and alleviating the burn step, and replacing it with an overnight peroxide step to dissolve out the organic matter that way instead. This method could also have a greater return on Pb concentrations as we believe our values are a bit low.

[Read more…]

Reaching out to the community – surveys

With less than a week before I fly back to America, I can safely say that I’m very happy with the work I have done here at Scotland’s Rural College. Over the last couple of weeks I have left the construction of my paper on the back burner for now so that I can dedicate time to collecting the data I need for it, which is really exciting! With the guidance of my advisor here at the college, I crafted a survey to send out to agricultural advisors in order to gather their opinions of food production and the environment. Dr. Barnes made a similar survey which has previously been sent out to farmers, and so the questions were only slightly modified in order for us to get parallel information which will let us directly compare the opinions of farmers and their advisors. In this way we can get a sense of whether these two groups, which should be working in tandem, actually see things the same, or if there are major differences which could be hindering the uptake of sustainable agricultural practices. The survey was sent off this morning, so now all that’s to be done is wait until people start responding! While I only have a few more days to work with Dr. Barnes in person, I will still be a part of the team even while back in America so that I can help analyse the data and then finish the paper I started less than 2 months ago. It will be incredibly satisfying to see this project through to the end and I am excited to see what data we get and what it can tell us about the future of sustainable farming.