Saturday, January 28, 2012

More Samples!

As soon as I returned from ScienceOnline2012 #scio12, I drove to Virginia to pick up shellfish samples from Chesapeake Bay.  I drove up and back on Monday, and chatted with my collaborator at the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences while there.  He was able to collect oysters, hard clams, soft clams, and stout razor clams from their experimental plots for me.  I was missing soft clams and stout razor clams, so I'm very excited and grateful! 

What a week!  Seems like I wasn't quite as prepared for #scio12 as I hoped...  I spent a lot of time trying to catch up on teaching emails, lesson plans, meeting with students who registered late, and trying to catch up on my readings for Science Education class.  I'm still catching up on my SciEd work, but isn't playing catch-up the life of a grad student?  I'm taking the morning to blog and do some post-#scio12 wrap up.  We have to keep inspired and engaged by doing the things that bring us fulfillment and joy.

I have those shellfish in the freezer in our necropsy lab now, and I've started the tissue extraction process.  I had to spend some time cleaning and organizing this past week, so I wasn't able to get to the DNA extraction.  That's on the schedule for this weekend.  The necropsy lab is used by numerous people in at least two labs, is bereft of a formal "lab manager", and is often a mess.  Quite honestly, I think it stays a mess because we all feel like no one else will take the time to keep it clean or keep our samples safe.  The last time I was in there, there were fish scales still stuck to the dissection table.  It makes me worry about using that area to remove tissue samples that will be used for DNA extraction.  So I cleaned and prepared the small hood and wet lab area in our lab to work in...and that is a much nicer set up anyway.  I also decided that it would be best to store my frozen samples in small containers in the freezer.  I had them in plastic storage bags on a shelf, and with all the other fish and misc samples in the freezers, it just didn't seem like the best choice.  So I now feel much better about my sample storage and work area.

All in all, it felt like a nicely productive week.  This weekend I must finish prepping my samples so that I can start the DNA extraction process on Monday.  And next...sequencing! 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

And Finally...Research!

I realized that it's been a year since I posted anything on this blog!  I find it really hard to manage all my commitments in grad school along with social media and networking.  Technologies change all the time...sometimes in good ways and sometimes in bad ways...but all of these changes require a learning curve.  I've just linked my blogspot account with G+, which might actually help streamline social networking and blogging.  We shall see!  I've also decided that I want to use SaveOurSharks as a personalized research blog for this moment in my life.  I'm hoping that if blog posts go out to all my friends in my ScienceOnline circle (see #scio12), perhaps I'll feel more supported and encouraged in my research...and also responsible to them at the same time...  Posting will be a built-in, self-created, self-reporting mechanism to keep my friends updated on my research and also spur me to keep up with my research schedule.

So where am I at this moment?

Thesis Proposal Defense: Done! August 2011

Sample Collection:
  • North Carolina shellfish samples: Almost Done!
  • Chesapeake Bay shellfish samples: Collected but died.  :(  New sample collection: In Progress
DNA Extraction:
  • North Carolina shellfish: DNA extracted and in storage! Turned out beautifully!
COI Primers: Ordered!

Working On:
I have to acquire some more shellfish samples from NC and Chesapeake Bay.  Hopefully I'll have the Chesapeake samples this week or early next week.  Hope to have the primers early this week.  Soon as those arrive, then I'm off to sequencing!

Feel free to comment, ask questions, and ask me how I'm me stay motivated, please!