Research on Amblyomma americanum adults and nymphs

So far this summer, I have spent the majority of my time conducting field work around the Virginia and Middle Peninsula areas in order to collect ticks that will be analyzed for pathogens. To do this, we drove, mountain biked, and hiked into the woods at various locations where transects were then established at points that have been utilized for the past several years for tick collection. For the tick collection itself, I dragged a 1 meter squared tarp along each transect, checking for ticks every three meters and putting any ticks in 70% ethanol. After returning to campus each day, I stored the ticks in freezers to preserve them until DNA analysis could be conducted. Below is an example photo of over 200 Amblyomma americanum nymphs in a collection tube with ethanol. In just one three meter stretch, we found 202 ticks, which is a record for this project.

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Literature Research on SES

One of the main things I will be looking at to study is socioeconomic status, or SES. This variable is a very changing and indefinite one as there are many different ways to determine what exactly a student’s SES is depending on a variety of factors including their family, neighborhood, parental education, etc. I am not aware of how much information at the moment is used to determine the student’s SES in the current study until I can do the analysis of the different variables. However, how much information available may have an effect on how accurate the resulting information is. Previous literature has questioned whether SES has an impact on students’ academic achievement and the results have varied. It appears how SES is defined may impact whether or not claims like these are significant. I hope in doing more research I can be more informed as to what variables to use or avoid to make the SES data more cohesive and able to give a more accurate result with regards to the current research I am doing. My research is not necessarily looking at academic achievement, but rather attitudes about attaining higher education. However past studies explaining the issues with defining SES and how it can impact data results is important information to use later.

Adaptive Radiation and Stress Physiology of Vibrio Fischeri

So far this summer I have been steadily collecting and gathering data on the growth of V. fischeri smooth morphs and wrinkly spreaders on a salinity gradient. To do this I have been growing bacteria on LBS growth media with different concentrations of sodium chloride and measuring OD600 with a spectrophotometer to determine the population density that V. fischeri is able to grow to over a period of 24 hours .

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