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Week 5: Experiencing more of the lab

                Since I was still waiting to continue my work with the pHstat, I was around the lab helping the other PHD and Masters students the rest of the week. The first two days of the week I was helping out a Masters student in our lab with her cultures. She had cultures already started and I was checking them to see the purity of the cultures so that only a singly type of phytoplankton remained. During this process I learned how to do single cell isolation, which takes a lot of work and patience. If a culture was less pure I used single cell isolation to start a new batch of pure cultures. This took forever to accomplish, because the phytoplankton that I was isolating was a colonial form. It was almost impossible to get just a single cell, so I settled for the smallest clump that had no other types of phytoplankton hiding within the mass. It was a time consuming task and in the end I discovered that most of the cultures were pure enough for experimental use, however, I still tried single cell isolation to continue those pure cultures. Although after a few days I discovered that the cells did not survive well enough to reproduce.

                On Wednesday there was not much else for me to do but more acid washing to clean up the lab. Afterwards I read up on an article about the carbonate chemistry and its relevance to ocean acidification to further my relevant knowledge to the main project that I am working on this summer. The next day I was helping another PHD student with her experiment. On that day I learned the protocol to wash and prepare RNA for further analysis with the removal of proteins and everything else from a water sample by treating the DNA captured in the filter. This took most of the day and was long. She did the first set to teach me how to do the protocol and then I did the other set for each step of the process. At the end of the day we supposedly collected the DNA needed for further analysis within her project. To see the presence of the DNA I was taught how to use a Nano drop machine. In the end it seems that there was something wrong with the protocol and she needed to discover the mistake before she could continue with the analysis.

On the last day I was trying to start another experiment with Rachel using the dissolved oxygen meter, however, a part was broken and needs to be replaced before we can even use the machine. This has put a major setback in the other project and cannot continue until everything comes into the lab. So instead I cleaned up the pHstat from the biological experiments, since we would not be using it for some time. I also finished acid washing some of the other items from earlier in the week. Now all I have to do is wait for something to work before I can continue any further.