Takin’ Care of Business

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.

Late Nights in the Lab

Eat breakfast, go to lab; eat lunch, go to lab, eat dinner, go back to lab. You see the pattern? Going out to the field, late hours in the lab, getting my experiment ready, getting pumped for whale watching or going out on the Centennial is all just another week in the Friday Harbor Labs (FHL). When this is the same schedule twenty others share with you it doesn’t seem as hard of a schedule. Especially when the sun doesn’t go down until ten at night, you get used to the work hard and play hard cycle that everyone seems to adopt when they come here.

My name is Deanna and I’m one of three students working with Molly this summer. My project is on Botrylloides violaceus which is an invasive here in the United States on both coasts. It originally came over from Japan and was first spotted in the 70’s here in the San Juan Islands. These sea squirts are a member of the fouling community and are pretty abundant at several harbors here in Washington. We went collecting on Tuesday last week and we found a lot at Roche Harbor (RH) and Fisherman’s Bay (FB) which are two of my field sites. We also saw a small colony of them at Cattle Point in the tide pools when we went one weekend. What I’m looking at with these guys is to see if they have any acclimation to local environmental conditions. This is important to look at because this invader is not found in some harbors (like the FHL docks) but is very abundant at others (FB). It would be interesting to find out which conditions they favor in order to see which harbors might be at greater risk of getting invaded.

This last week was really exciting as we prepped petri dishes containing juvenile Botrylloides violaceus for the field. After all the little guys were settled on the dishes we attached them to pvc trays submerged in 12°C seawater . . . while the plates were upside down. That was challenging and Molly and I worked late into the night/morning getting everything ready for deployment the next day.

With six hours or so of sleep we started up again later in the morning. We took the Coot (one of the four motor boats available for research) out to Fisherman’s Bay and hung the first of three of my contraptions. It was actually really good conditions for deployment because it was overcast. You would think that having a sunny day would make it better, but with the clouds it kept the trays cool while we assembled them in the field.

After hanging the one out at FB we headed back to the labs for lunch. In the afternoon we hung one off of the FHL docks and then took our sweet Ford Truck out to RH to hang the third and final tray. So now, my experiment has officially begun and we’ll be checking on it this Friday!

That’s all for now guys. We’ll be sure to keep you updated!