Caterpillars are on their way!

Hey everyone! So I know that most people are finishing up their research projects this week, but I am going to be running the biggest part of my experiment this week! The HPLC method has been developed, the plants are doing fine, the cages are all up in the greenhouse, and we are finally getting the caterpillars to run the experiment! Unfortunately, we won’t be getting them from the original distributor that we ordered from due to time constraints, but I was able to find a wonderful butterfly farm in PA and they were able to ship them yesterday! So just a review of what we are using the caterpillars for: we have 18 cages with tubs of high and low density plants, 9 of each type. There are 3 treatments: caterpillar, manual damage using a hole-punch, and no damage. The caterpillars will be on the plants for a total of 72 hours, and that will be the end of our recording time. During those 72 hours we will take samples of all 3 treatments and then prepare them by flash-freezing and freeze-drying so that I may run HPLC on them during the fall semester. As an added bonus, after the experiment has run we will be rearing the caterpillars in two butterfly cages in the greenhouse! We hope they will add another splash of color to our already personable greenhouse! I will be posting some pictures during the experiment this week of the caterpillars when they are finally on our humble milkweed plants:)

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Milkweed Summer Research Week 1

Milkweed Set-Up

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