Monday, February 18, 2008

Insert Obligatory Sarah Perrin Reference

Well.. The weekend is over.. time to get ready for the grind leading up to Spring Break. I really am ready for Spring Break... We're doing what we did last year: Fishing! The roomies and peeps are all going up to my Dad's place for a coupla days while crappie are (hopefully) bedding. Yesterday was so gawjus that I really wanted to get out then and fish, but with this organic test Wednesday, there's no real hope of that. This test will be really bad. I'll be satisfied with even a C on this one I think... There's just too damn much to know! Anywho, after recieving my Vert Zoo tests back last week, I realize what Vogler has done to me. I'm totally afraid of tests now I think. Because in Organic, no matter how much you study, you can never study enough for his German You-vill-learn-or-you-vill-Vail! tests. I managed two really good scores out of vert with reasonable preparation. I'll start to worry about the new material as soon as this Organic test is over.
I sent in my stuff for Marine Invert Zoology at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab last week. Hopefully I'll get in the class, but I'll take botany as a second choice. It will be great to see some of the friends I made that were there last year. Plus, I'm taking probably the best course they offer. I'll be rooming with my research partner, James, this time.

We got our grant! Stallsmith managed to get the Audubon research grant he applied for, meaning we can now afford to do DNA extractions and sequencing on any Fundulus bifax we collect. James and I have already extracted DNA from 5 fish now; we're going in today to see how successful the extractions were. Apparently Prof. Podila has a machine that can measure the amount of protein and DNA in a 20microlitre sample. It'll be fun to get to work on this project.

Science Projects:
Aside from looking at some baking yeast yesterday, the big thing has been my protist culture from cracker and dust. I think it finally grew to maturity in two weeks (I.E. It started to smell bad). Here's a video and picture from the beasties I found. Notice how sharp of a shift from rod-shaped bacteria to Large Ciliates there is. Compare last week's picture! I've started to become a good microscopist. I've been playing with dark field and getting really high contrast/resolution views. Unfortunately, seeing this stuff through the scope and getting a picture of it are two different animals.
Check out this video of these dyed cilliates.
What are they doing? I swear they seem to be involved in some type of community behavior here.. Just wait until they develop nuclear weapons... Hey! That one looks like George Bush! We're doomed!
Now these buggers were small.. and this fluffy shaped one seemed to be checking out all the sessile round ones.. Wow I just realized how unintelligently 3-year old I sound.. Good thing Stallsmith lent me a guide to microlife book. Thanks again Stallsy!

The Brine shrimp culture I have going had a hardcore reduction of numbers at the start of last week. There are hundreds of shrimp corpses at the bottom of the bottle now, I guess they will do well to grow bacteria for the adults to feed on. They've really become quite the swimmers now, resembling adult brineshrimp. You can't quite sex them yet, but the ones that survive on seem to be doing well. I've gotten lazy with the airstone, so I threw in some Chaetomophora (marine Algae) to do the job for me. I'll post pictures of the adults and culture container next week.

Ah! My Sodium Acetate came in the mail Thursday! I spent the entire evening playing with it, and even supersaturating some solutions of it. It's not quite perfect yet, but i'll post a video when it's ready to be shown. Here's the solution in the works, and the remainder of my glorious pound of pure Columbian..err...Sodium Acetate.
Ahh.. Valentine's day... Heather totally made me a picture frame with about 10 photos of life here in Huntsville.. I about cried! It was very nice. Kudos to Heather for being the best friend ever. Other than that, V-day was somewhat uneventful, but you could notice how nice people were being to each other...and there was some rather nice poetry on NPR that day.


Anywho.. I've got a meeting with Stallzy in a few minutes. Take care all!

Cheers,
Andrew

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