catching up on projects
As the title says, I am catching up on projects today. When is one ever completely caught up on projects? Perhaps it seems un-ending, but today I will make an attempt to push through more of the image analysis phase. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I collaborated with a colleague last summer at the Shoals Marine Lab. This project will provide some baseline data on the phytoplankton community composition in and around the Isle of Shoals Archipelago. Using the FLOWCAM particle imaging system developed in Boothbay, Maine, we sampled from a set of incubations over a 6 day time period to determine abundance and diversity. To my knowledge, plankton based experiments are not conducted frequently (if at all) on the island due to the lack of resources and/or expertise in this field of research. Many of the courses at the advanced undergraduate level are organismal based and although this is extremely valuable for a field based ecologist or marine biologist, I still believe that understanding microbial ecology is important.
In order to complete the data analysis phase of this project, I must first process the raw data images. This sounds straightforward in theory, and more efficient than manually counting microscope samples…however, it is still extremely time consuming and assumes that you have 1) a working knowledge of phytoplankton taxonomy (or the Tomas bible) and 2) a solid understanding of the proprietary software Visual Spreadsheet.
I will be posting more progress updates regarding the SML Nutex (nutrient experiment) project soon…and images, I promise some photos of phytos.