The next phase of the project!

I’m a little late in this announcement, but folks here it is: I’ve completed running all COPAS08 cruise flow cytometry samples! I officially finished last friday.  Now this includes running 5 depths in duplicate to quantify the picoplankton populations as well as the HB (stained) populations.  In many cases, each sample was run up to 20 minutes.  10 samples (+/- 5 for standards) times 20 min. each = long hours on the flow cytometer! All of these tedious samples have already started to provide some interesting and exciting information as I start the next phase of my project.  Now, I have all the raw data from running these samples across spatial scales and need to determine how to separate the populations into groups.

I met with my advisor to discuss this next phase and work through a few data files for practice.  The next few weeks will involve some serious time with the various software programs I have at hand as well as some fancy spreadsheet organization.  But hopefully the goal is to have the unstained samples analysed so I can meet again to tackle the HB portion of each sample.  Thankfully I consider myself quite skilled at data organization and management.  I enjoy seeing data pile up and working with it.  I feel a great sense of satisfaction from seeing data in a plotted (more final) stage and this fall will be a perfect segue to that process.  I’ll be taking a full biostatistical analysis course to complement my data analysis.  The timing couldn’t have worked out better in terms of me being ready to use the information.  I suspect this might be a pivotal course in my program and ultimately also help me tremendously.

Here are a few milestones in my short graduate experience:

–  applied for NSF fellowship

– participated in collaborative research cruise

– completed 2 semester of coursework (16 credits total)

– presented thesis proposal

– presented project at student research fair

– completed flow cytometry for cruise samples

– developed staining method for sample processing

I’m looking forward to moving into the next part of my project and considering how this information might be valuable to others from our cruise and the greater scientific community.  That is one of the exciting aspects of science in my opinion.  I certainly hope that the work that we do contributes to larger findings and greater human awareness of the importance of marine microbes.  Alright, that’s a lofty goal – but I’m dreaming big!

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About hawright

marine ecologist

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