Here’s a brief update on my research this fall. I am taking coursework this fall and next spring in addition to completing the data analysis on samples from the COPAS cruise. I just had my third thesis committee meeting this past month and made a presentation of the work (in progress) that I’ve completed. Our lab meetings are also fruitful because we have a small group of people and are actively engaged in what folks are doing. The thesis meeting was the most productive meeting I’ve had since starting my program. It helps to have data and preliminary results to discuss! The feedback that I received was right on track with the analysis that it in progress. There’s still a lot more work to be done, but I’m on the right path.
I still have a significant number of samples to complete HB analysis. This will entail a similar approach as the flow cytometry analysis before, but might take me more or less time depending on how well I am able to interpret the samples. This is a vague description, but suffice to say that I still have to go through each and every sample and analyze the individual groups the way in which I would have for my raw data.
To determine the effect of environmental parameters on the distribution and abundance of picophytoplankton, I am exploring the correlation between various physico-chemical factors and populations in my samples. This is a combination of comparison between stations and among populations. I haven’t settled on the suite of statistical tests that I’ll use thus far, but soon I will!
Keeping the data and analysis files in organized is a tall order! Never underestimate the importance of being highly organized and a meticulous note-taker when you work with large data sets. To me this seems like a large data set, but in reality, it is a small slice of data or a snapshot in time if you will. This is nothing in comparison to the data sets required with time series. I fully appreciate the process of working with data and finding a way to make your method work. This (again) is a work in progress!
Coursework and keeping an eye to the larger picture are still top priorities for me. I’m enjoying the seminars that I have this semester. The reading is easier, in that it doesn’t take me as long to understand the flow and organization of research publicatons and I’ve come up with a great way of cataloging my papers in cite-u-like. This service allows me to save copies that I have of my own pdf libraries and keep a sorted listing of articles that I’ve read, want to read, etc. It also allows me to re-export my entire library in a form that I can use for Zotero and then in my word documents. I don’t have endnote nor have I used it before to cite references, so I’m going to continue with the process that I’ve used so far and see how it works. In addition to reading a lot more papers this fall and in this year in general, I’ve improved my presentations, spent a lot more time working on powerpoints that I can use for meetings and presentations. Right now I’m moderately satisfied with the progess I’ve made. It’s been at a fast pace that often makes it difficult to stand back and look at the long range picture. If I can aim for the next 6mo to a year, that seems good! This fall a major goal is to have applied to doctoral programs and submitted my applications. That’s the next thing on “the list”!