Algae, Friends, Thanksgiving…

…in that order.

I’ve been very busy here working on blending up algae. Unfortunately, the going has been a bit slow because my project is rather dependent on the tides. I can only get certain samples at very low tides, which occur for 1-2 days every 2 weeks. Unfortunately, these are the species that show the largest efflux (yes, what an awesome word) of acidic compounds. Since they’re so low in the intertidal, even when they are exposed they don’t tend to dry out too much. It’s been difficult trying to see a pH drop around them in the field. On top of that, these species aren’t too common here, so it’s hard to find a large patch of them. I don’t know whether this portion of my  experiment will be successful at all, but we’ll see…


Even the more common species of algae can be very hard to work with. For example, two different species, Ulvaria and Ulva, are shown below:

Do you notice the difference? I don’t either. In fact, it’s impossible to tell between these two with the naked eye. Ulva lactuca is two cells thick, whereas Ulvaria obscura is one cell thick. In order to tell for sure, you have to slice off a one cell cross-section of a leaf and look at it under a microscope. I hope to get some microscope pictures while I’m up here, but I haven’t booked the room and don’t know if I have time.

I’ve also recently gotten rather excited by the cool gizmos in the lab. Being a bit of a nerd, I can’t help but appreciate the design of some of these 70’s designs. This machine to the right is a GC, or Gas Chromatograph, and I’ve bizarrely fallen in love with its boxy design. The lights on the front flash green and red, making it resemble a horrible science fiction prop.  Fellow undergraduate intern Jenna is using te GC to look at DMS production in algae.


My friends here decided to do “thanksgiving in July” several weeks ago. We cooked up a turkey, and all made different dishes. Here’s a couple cool pictures from that…












I’m a bit backed up on this blog, so more to come soon!


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