Yes, I know it's Tuesday...but I found the time to talk about Sunday just today.
Sunday, January 31st was the last of our permit to collect in the Bankhead National Forest. Bruce, Taito, James, and I all headed out at 9 a.m. to collect out-of-breeding season Silverstripe Shiners (Notropis stilbius) for our regular brain studies. In this investigation we're quantifying N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptors (NMDAR) in a species that are sexually dimorphic—that is, you can tell males from females during breeding season—and a few species that aren't sexually dimorphic. NMDA plays a role in memory and visual acuity that we hypothesize is important to certain fish, especially Scarlet Shiners (Notropis fasciolaris) due to their wildly dimorphic behavior and coloration during the breeding season. We've quantified the flux of 11-ketotestosterone (11-KT) already in this species, and dominant males show an astounding 12-fold higher 11-KT concentration (pg/L) over non-dominant males, and an even higher concentration over non-reproductive females. Anyhow, for all of these studies we need to collect fish!
Notropis stilbius in my hands. (gloves for the cold!) Photo: B. Stallsmith
Whiteflies. Shamelessly stolen from GoogleIn the greenhouse, Dr. Ceske and I are planning on waging an all out war on white flies. We've tried several biological means of control, setting out parasitic wasps (Encarsia formosaI) to eat the whitefly larvae from the inside out. This, however, has not worked. We resorted to daily spraying of the plants (with water), but the white flies keep proliferating. In the last two months, they've gone from being a minor nuisance to majorly jeopardizing the research specimens. As such, we're resorting to chemical warfare. I've been spraying affected areas with Azatin, a relatively safe insecticide to reduce white fly numbers, and yesterday I prepped the greenhouse regions for bombing with Orthane Canisters. These babies should kill anything and everything buggy living in the greenhouse. After that, we plan to set out sticky cards and continue spraying the plants with insecticides until no flies remain. Hopefully after all is done, we can resume our proposed genetic studies on our Red Baron Cogengrasses. Leland just received a fairly major grant after some heavy debate and results are due this September. As such, I've become employed in performing some of the DNA extractions/Amplification/Isolation and Sequencing. I'm excited for this—these are some good skills to polish up on before I get started in Grad. School doing similar work. It will also be good since I have several samples of Cecropia that I collected from Monteverde, Costa Rica this last summer that I would like to extract and analyze for differences.
In other news, I've been accepted to Bemidji for a Master's track that should include a teaching fellowship. I also, sadly, received my rejection letter from Yale last week. I actually had very high hopes of joining the Near Lab, but I guess it just wasn't in the stars. I've got my interview at U of Iowa Feb 11 and 12th, so I'm excited for that. So much that I even forced myself out to get a haircut today (!).
Well, that's all for now. I've got to get to writing my Dactylogyrus manuscript.