Hello, Steve here again. It has been a month or so now at Friday Harbor and I’m still having a blast. Joe’s, Deanna’s, and my projects are going great. We are all starting to get results. While designing my experiment this spring one of my goals was to incorporate the scanning electron microscope (S.E.M.) into my research. I have always wanted to learn how to use one mainly because I think the pictures are really cool.
I did figure out how to include the S.E.M. by looking to see how morphological aspects of juvenile Oregonia gracilis affect their behavior. I am also interested in characterizing the different morphological features of the very young juveniles, as it has not been done before. Finally I am looking to see if there are any differences in setal density between different periods of O. gracilis’ life.
I learned how to use the S.E.M. last week. It is amazingly easy to use. If you can use a camera you can learn how to use the S.E.M. It only took about 5 minutes to master. The theory on how it works, on the other hand, is not so easy. Well, here are some pictures I took with it.
A carapace of an O.gracilis megalopa, the final larval stage of a crab before metamorphosis into a juvenile crab. They can look quite different between species. There are a few here that look similar but the way the spines are laid out distinguishes between them.
Compound eyeballs look tight.
A carapace of a few day old juvenile O. gracilis. All the hair like projections are called hooked setae. These are how decorator crabs attach decoration to themselves. It is a mechanical attachment much like Velcro. Hooked setae are unique to the spider crab family Majoidae.
Here is a juvenile eye ball because it looks cool. It kind of has an eye brow of hooked setae. Pretty sweet.
A close up of some of the setae. These ones are on the base of the rostrum.
It’s awesome to have data already, but now it’s time to start interpretation. Deciding how to present the data and analyze it can be challenging. My data from after one week did not really show too many patterns, but after two weeks there’s a little more to go off of. This is really exciting because now we can use that information to decide if we want to keep going with this experiment or shift it in a new direction.
This morning we actually went through and did some analysis in the JMP Pro 9 statistics program. Although my original question was how origin affected survival and zooid number, there seems to be no indication of acclimation of the Botrylloides violaceus to site of origin; at least not yet. But that is completely fine. We did find evidence of an effect of genotype on survival and growth (zooid number) which is pretty exciting on its own. Now we get to investigate more into the effects of genotype which is just as cool. Genotypes will be defined as individual adult colonies for this part of the experiment and each one will get its own container to make sure we’re keeping them separate.
To get to Fisherman’s Bay, one of our field sites, we take a motor boat out since it’s on Lopez Island. Summer seems to start after the Fourth of July, and it was clear to us when we went out that Friday and the water was calm and the sun was shining.
We’ll be out collecting tomorrow, and then it’s catching larvae back in the lab for the rest of the week until we take our new juveniles out and swap them with the current colonies. So there’s a busy week ahead of me and my lab mates as we each work on our experiments. We’ll be fighting for sea table space since both Steve and Joe are working on their trials as well. Just kidding, we’ve already worked it out since I’ll only need it for a couple of days it’s not too much of a hassle, at least I hope not.
Leaning over the docks is how you find and collect these guys. You have to watch out because if you let them slip through your fingers they sink faster than you would think.
So on top of this prep and collection week, we’re also going out whale watching this Wednesday. Last time we went to a place called Lime Kiln to watch from the shore, but we didn’t see any since the pod decided to head north on us. This time we’re going out on a boat which is pretty exciting because we can go to the whales instead of waiting for them to chance by. I’ve personally never seen whales before so I’m really looking forward to this!
That’s all for now, hope your need for science has been at least momentarily satisfied.
Susan Parrish here. We are having a fun, albeit very busy summer here at the McDaniel Dicty lab. Kirsten and Catherine have really impressed me with their work ethic and they even have some exciting results! I will let them tell you about their results, since it is their work and I don’t want to steal their thunder. They are about to embark on project number two and the last few weeks will be very busy as they balance two projects at once.
One of my favorite aspects of being a college professor is inviting my research students over for dinner. I am fortunate to have a husband who is a wonderful cook, so this makes it much more enjoyable from my perspective. We had Catherine and Kirsten over for my husband’s fabulous BBQ last Thursday. He made his smoked BBQ brisket with grilled corn, asparagus, and squash. I made homemade baked beans, corn bread, and a cherry pie with local Baugher sour cherries. It was a veritable feast and a good time was had by all, including Bumble the Pug, our lab mascot.