If only I were FAMEous

I’m not referring to having everyone know my name. I have no aspirations for this. I’m a high school teacher after all, and I love my job. The FAME I’m talking about today is Fatty Acid Methyl Ester, and it is the procedure that made me giddy with data on my final two days in … Continue reading

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Bring on the Snorkeling

Orpheus Island is located within the Palm Island Group on the Great Barrier Reef, situated 120 km north of Townsville and 220 km south of Cairns. Located 23 km (16 nautical miles) east of the mainland coast from Lucinda, North Queensland, Australia, Orpheus Island is in the northern end of the Palm Island group. I … Continue reading

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I Can Get Used To Island Living.

As I wrote in my previous post, “Pinch Me Now I Must Be Dreaming” I am staying on Orpheus Island for 4 days (3 nights), and volunteering to do tasks around the island. This post focuses on my experiences from day 2. Saturday Morning I woke up to the sounds of cockatoos and and other … Continue reading

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What (not) to do in the lab.

This list is a compilation of my own, and other researchers “learning experiences.” I have been thinking a lot about science education. I guess I’m always thinking about science education since I am a biology teacher, and I am in the midst of an amazing summer research experience in Australia. My current thoughts on learning … Continue reading

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It’s all a matter of perspective.

Before I go into the details of what I’ve been looking at I wanted to give you some perspective. If the human race were my micro algae experiment, stick with me for a second, the entire world would fit in about 4.5 liters of filtered sea water. With some serious help from K we were … Continue reading

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Curves, Sea Water, Sterilization

This week I have been attempting to analyze the growth of one of my species of microalgae. I will make a calibration curve using transmittance (the amount of light that passes through 200 ul of culture) cell counts (exactly what it sounds like very tedious), and dry weight (the mass of the algae after dryer … Continue reading

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TLC, patience, pigments.

Yesterday I worked on using thin layer chromatography (TLC) to separate the pigments in the two species of Algae I am working with for my experiment. The concept of chromatography is that a solvent dissolves the pigments and then by capillary action rises slowly along the TLC strip. There are several factors that determine how … Continue reading

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Rainy day nutrient analysis protocol

The last couple days have been overcast, and rainy. This is not typical weather for Townsville in winter. It is usually between 70-75 and sunny. My experiment is going well. I am allowing my experiment time to grow and the culture to become dense so I can analyze the nutrients consumed by the growing micro … Continue reading

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Abiotic and Biotic Australia

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Fluorescence. Glow in the dark science.

There has been a lot of attention on fluorescent proteins lately. Yesterday the NY times featured an article in the Scientist at Work column about, “The Holy Grail of Fluorescent Proteins.”  In the article it makes note of one of the first fluorescent proteins, the green fluorescent protein (GFP), which was first extracted from jelly fish … Continue reading

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