Week 3 and 4: hunt for marine Cladophora

As Shaunna mentioned in our last blog post, I had to head back to the mainland for a while, first for a teaching workshop and then for the annual meeting of the Phycological Society of America (PSA). This is a great meeting for learning about the latest in algae research (phycology = the study of algae), which helps me keep my Marine Botany class up to date on the research in this ever-changing field. It is also a great way to catch up with friends and colleagues and make new connections. I gave a talk on using next generation sequencing technology to examine algal biodiversity. Through other talks at the meeting and talking with the other people there, I learned of a new way to analyze my data, which will be more powerful for my particular data set – this is very exciting and really highlights one of the reasons I go to this meeting every year! This is also a welcoming meeting to students – learn more about this organization on their website: http://www.psaalgae.org

Back in Hawaii, Shaunna was working hard in the Sherwood lab at the University of Hawaii and out in the field. She shares what she’s been up to (including some of the reality of science – sometimes things don’t go as planned!) in this week’s blog post:

I am just starting fourth week in the lab and things have been quite busy…which is why I haven’t been able to blog as often as I would have hoped. The first freshwater trial is coming to an end and we are hoping to start up the second trial with a marine sample of the Cladophora algae we are studying. Last week our lab went up to the North shore in hopes of finding this marine alga and unfortunately had no luck! I did get to see some of the great wildlife Hawaii has which is always exciting; some beautiful algae, a sea slug and even sea cucumbers…but sadly no Cladophora! This just goes to show that science does not always go your way and you have to be on your toes to adjust your experiment based on what nature allows. Fortunately I did find a marine sample at another beach location the next day which was quite the relief- I was somewhat nervous about the experiment without the marine sample being included if we didn’t find it. Working in the lab while Dr. Carlile has been away has been such a huge responsibility but very exciting- I’d like to think that I am being productive and have a lot of things done before she gets back next week. Aside from working in the lab, I have had a few opportunities to experience more of the Hawaiian scenery and culture on the weekends- I just recently tried my first bubble tea this past weekend. I cannot believe that I have been here for almost four weeks already, working in the lab has been so much fun and a wonderful learning experience- thank goodness I still have a month left!

 

Shaunna trying bubble tea

No Cladophora at this beach, but we did find this cool sea slug!

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