Friday, July 13, 2012

Week 6: DATA!!!

The last few days were a glorious ride. After struggling with many different species, I finally got on of the local fuzzy red species, Polysiphonia sp. (I'll key it out later), to release spores!  And then I saw the spores with a microscope, blasted them with my flume, and collected some super sweet images. The moment of first data is always a momentous occasion in any research project. At the moment I realized that the last five weeks of effort were going to finally work, I literally screamed "Yes, data!!!" at the top of my lungs.  Becca, who was helping me set this up at the time, looked over at me with an expression that was a mix of "Oh my god this guy is crazy," and "Yeah, I totally understand that feeling."

I found the only way to truly get really good images with the microscope was to eliminate any sort of air/water interface (discovered accidentally, as my microscope casing broken and filled with water).  So I needed to dunk the lens in the water.  I sealed the top of the lens so no water would get in the microscope barrel itself, then dunked the lens in water, and behold!: beautiful spores.  This was Moose's suggestion, and will probably ruin the lens at some point, but for now it's working splendidly.  But replacing a lens every so often isn't the worst operating expense.

Here's a with and without a barrier image, of the same set of spores:

And then, a sequence of image showing the number of spores remaining on the slide after hitting the spores with greater and greater force.  The first picture has 4 spores, which got knocked down to 3 and then 1.  Can you find them?

And last, the data graphic that resulted from this first set.  I had eight spores in view on this test, so I marked the information pertaining to the spores when they were de-attached.  So when the spore became deattached, how long had it been settling, and what force was needed to deattach it.  The points on the farthest right actually never became deattached. The darker points are actually two overlapping data points.

And as a final bit of news, I'll be posting some more algae pressings that are almost dry in the next few days. I got some really big ones in this set from the dock at FHL, after these I'll make one more set of smaller, more delicate (and in my opinion) more beautiful algae.

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