Fun with cloning!

Hello All!!


So, I arrived in Williamsburg on June 3rd and promptly started lab research on June 4th. Time really does fly when you are fully engrossed in a research project.  Just as a re-cap on my project. I am performing a Yeast Two-Hybrid Assay, to find proteins that interact with the protein, UBE3A. I could go into every nitty gritty detail of each step of the process, but I feel as if I would completely bore you. So, I am going to explain it in a simplified way. A scientific experiment in a wet lab takes many many many steps. Each step takes much longer than what would be expected, especially when working with yeast.

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Possible solutions to the invasive Rusty crayfish

Professor Lamar and I have explored every individual element of the equations needed to simulate the intraguild predation model (Click here to view equations), which is representative of the interactions that occur between the Rusty crayfish and the Smallmouth Bass. Remember, the bass feed on the crayfish and the crayfish feed on bass eggs. In addition, each species competes for the same resource.  This complex relationship has led us to account for the following: bass birth rate, bass development rate, bass egg mortality, crayfish predation rate on bass eggs, bass eggs that survive development, bass predation rate on crayfish, bass mortality, bass predation rate on the resource, crayfish predation rate on bass, crayfish mortality, resource mortality, and crayfish predation rate on the resource. Quite a list! However, Professor Lamar and I have been able to simulate the aquatic interaction by entering the intraguild predation equations into xppaut and matlab. These programs have allowed us to determine which parameters are needed to condone one of four possible system behaviors: coexistence, bistability, survival of one species, or neither species survives. Since the main goal of my research project was to figure out the best way to eradicate the invasive Rusty Crayfish, we’re more interested in obtaining a system in which only the bass survive or coexistence results (we may not be able to get rid of the crayfish, but hopefully we can keep there numbers low). Thus, we’ve focused on manipulating the parameters in such a way as to either help the bass or hurt the crayfish. The main solutions were to increase the development rate of the bass (creating a small window for the crayfish to eat the bass eggs) , increase crayfish mortality (trapping and trawling), and decrease crayfish predation rate on resource (no food to eat besides bass eggs, which are only available during a certain time of the year). The next step would be to actually do some field work and test the results of our mathematical model in areas impacted by the Rusty Crayfish.

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Invasive Field Research

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to go out and do some field research with a student who is finishing his thesis on an invasive plant known as Japanese stilt grass. I was excited for a little change in terms of working atmosphere, although it was supposed to be pretty hot that day (it turned out to be pretty nice). The only down side about the situation was having to dress in such a manner to decrease your chance of catching ticks, chiggers, and other parasites. It was uncomfortable wearing my socks over my pants and feeling sticky from the spraying myself with deet,  but I’ll do whatever it takes to stay healthy and pest free.

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