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Falling Iron

This week I shifted gears.  Instead of working with environmental water samples I was given the opportunity to work with a graduate student in Dr.

A Salty Week

This week I spent a lot of time working with data collected on the water samples from Astoria.  After running the samples through the FlowCAM and eliminating the unwanted metrics, I performed principal component analysis (PCA), taking the first three principal components (PCs). 

Collecting Water Samples, Astoria Adventures, and Success in the Lab!

I can't believe I completed my 7th week at CMOP already!  Time is certainly flying by.  This week the interns were treated with a visit to the CMOP outpost in Astoria.  We were taken on a tour of the facility and were given talks on the equipment they use to measure various metrics in the ocean and on the Columbia as well as a brief overview of some of their current research projects.  I was fascinated by the gliders that they use to collect data.  The engineering that goes into the gliders certainly piqued my interest.  It was just a subtle reminder of the ove

A Taste of Graduate School, Testing pH Effects, and a Mount Hood Adventure

What a week!  There was never a dull moment this week.  I got my first taste of a graduate school experience on Monday when my Principal Investigator asked me to prepare a presentation of the work that I have done over the past few weeks and present it in front of him and another research group.  It wasn't a formal presentation but rather a casual presentation meant to inform everyone of my progress and create an environment where ideas about how to move forward could be discussed.  It was a great experience and took away a lot of anxiety about presenting in front of res

Research, Research, and More Research! Plus a Special Visit from a Former IBM Executive

This week I spent quite a bit of time researching information on dynamic light scattering and methods we could employ to move forward with the particleomics project.  I learned a lot about methods of concentrating samples and separating particles of desired sizes.  It turns out that filtering samples isn't always the best way to concentrate or extrude particles.  Sometimes the action of filtration can cause particles to aggregate.  Even though a filter may say it lets through particles smaller than, say 10 microns, particles can aggregate on the filter fibers and cause f

Taking Pictures of Particles in River Water and a Visit from NSF

This past week was very busy.  I learned how to use a new piece of equipment called a FlowCAM.  It analyzes particles in water, such as algae, bacteria, and organic matter, and provides various metrics on each particle.  It can process tens of thousands of particles within a half an hour.  The part that excites me most about this equipment is that it takes a picture of each particle that it takes measurements on.  While the system is running you can see the particles in real time.  It was very interesting to watch the particles and try to identify some of them

Sun Simulation and Particle Aggregates

This week began with a shift in focus from last week.  While last week I was measuring the particle size of standardized latex beads, this week I was able to take measurements on water samples from local streams and ponds.  On Monday an ASE high school intern began working in Dr. Tratnyek's lab as well.  She has been very helpful in assisting me with data collection and analysis of the data.

A Glimpse Into the Nanometer/Micrometer World - Measuring Particle Size

I never thought I would enjoy reading so many scientific papers.  Over the weekend and throughout the week I familiarized myself with my main project, which is focused on particleomics.  I never knew the impacts particles can have on the environment and the ways they can be indicators of the health/state of the environment.  It was interesting to read how particles are characterized and the methods used to detect and define them.  Even more exciting is that I was able to actually use some of those methods.

My First Week at CMOP - One Mini-Project Completed!

My first week at CMOP was very exciting.  Right off the bat I was given the task to wrap up a project that a graduate student, Amanda Mather, had been working on.  My senior investigator, Dr. Paul Tratnyek, was expecting usable data and a short write-up on my results by the end of the week.  The results were to be given to a local company who built the water purification system I was working on. 

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