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Week 1 - A Learning Experience

This week has mostly involved me trying to store as much information as possible from the huge amount that is being thrown at me every day. I am working with Rachel, a PhD student, to study how pH affects phytoplankton, particularly a toxin producing kind known as Alexandrium. The one thing I truly have ingrained in my brain after my first week is how to wash the laboratory equipment. No matter how much washing I do one day, there is guaranteed to be plenty more to do the next. Although washing dishes may not be the most exciting part of an internship, it does need to be done so I don’t mind the work. Luckily, I have been able to do some other things too. I’ve learned about sterile technique, made solutions to use in future cultures, and worked with Rachel to help get her pHstat ready to run experiments. My favorite part so far was looking at many of the algae cultures under the microscope. Rachel described some of the algae as “cute”, and at first I was a bit skeptical of that description. Once I actually saw them swimming around though, I had to agree that they were very cute. I can’t wait to check on the cultures that I made next week! Hopefully I’ll find them all to be healthy.