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Week 2 - The Beginning of My Main Project

I started working on my main project for the summer this week. I will be building calibration curves for different phytoplankton to measure the pH of the cells using a fluorometer. To make the curve I prepared samples of the phytoplankton by putting them in different buffer solutions so that their pH will be known. Then I added a dye called SNARF to the samples which is what fluoresces according to the pH of the cell. Preparing the samples for the fluorometer is a very time consuming process, so I have learned that patience is key. The first time I prepared the samples on my own I thought I knew what I was doing but something went wrong. When I ran the samples there was no chlorophyll peak showing, which meant that there were no live cells in the sample. That was the day that I experienced how frustrating science can be because I spent over five hours working on it and had no data to show for it. The next day I tried again but with a different organism and worked much more carefully. My patience paid off and I got usable results. I now have a good start on a calibration curve and will run more samples next week to make it more robust.