The Grand Finale of Summer Milkweed Pollination Research

To bring the summer to its natural conclusion, myself and my fellow technician Angelica set out to process all of the data we collected.  With only three weeks to process and analyze a month an a half of data collection, we really had our work cut out for us.  My job was to continue watching the videos we had taken and start scanning the data sheets and inputting the information on a spread sheet.  Angelica was in charge of image analysis, looking at percent leaf damage for the herbivory blocks.

[Read more…]

The Munching: Experimental procedures and data analysis

smiley punches

[Read more…]

Analysis of Milkweed Genotyping

With just a few individuals left to send off as redos, most of the focus on the milkweed project has moved towards analysis. Analysis is inherently tricky because there is a lot of trial and error. There are essentially a few options for analysis. You can use someone else’s software, you can modify someone else’s to fit your needs, OR you can make your own. The last one is obviously extremely time intensive, so our hope was to find a software we could use to fit our needs.

[Read more…]

Going with the flow: a new and improved milkweed project, finally getting results

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from my three years of research, it’s that its super important to go with the flow. Since my last update my milkweed project has taken on an entirely new shape. After discovering that glyphosate herbicides do not act as a proxy for connectedness, I decided to use a different approach and expand on my project from last summer.

[Read more…]

Losing the Battle to Win the War: Plant massacres and program fails

I’ve taken a fair few Ls in the past few weeks here in Puzey lab, but I know they’ve all been for the best. In my last post, I wrote about the measures we were taking to beat back thrips and spider mites; in this post, I must write that I was unable to control the insects on my plants, and had to make the decision to cut them all back. The spider mite populations were huge, and I was having to wipe down the leaves and stems of my plants every day to kill them. Misting with water and even bleach didn’t help, and on top of that, thrips were still present. I couldn’t use insecticidal soaps on the plants, because we had released so many predatory insects to help. So, I cut every single plant back to its roots. This sounds traumatic for the plants, but milkweed has such extensive root systems that they regrow quickly and healthily. Now I just have to wait for everything to grow—and then I can start executing my experiment!

[Read more…]