One of the main goals of scientists is to communicate their findings. They are able to do this by publishing papers of their work. Stacy is currently spending lots of time editing and preparing her paper to be published!
The lab recently attended the 45th annual Benthic Ecology Meeting located in Portland, Maine. This meeting occurs yearly allowing scientists to exchange information on benthic ecosystems and to encourage the next generation of benthic biologists.
Stacy presented an oral presentation on her newly published paper Unconscious uncoupling: invasion of novel habitats disrupts haploid-diploid life cycles.
Paige and Sarah presented their research at the poster session.
Paige's poster was titled Are introduced populations of the seaweed Gracilaria vermiculophylla more resistant to herbivores than native populations? A test of post invasion adaptation.
Sarah presented The Role of Heat Tolerance in the Invasive Success of the Red Seaweed Gracilaria vermiculophylla
Remember the scientific method? Well... that part about analysis can be a big portion of what a scientist does after running an assay, or experiment. Yesterday we caught up with Stacey in her and Glauco's office. Boy! She sure was hard at work at her computer! When asked what she was up to, with a wry smile she answered, "Data analysis. It can be exciting, sometimes not so exciting." Glauco, also at his desk, answered he was indeed busy with his experiments this week.
Stacy and Ben recently traveled to Virginia to collect another nonnative population of Gracilaria for the lab's research. Quite a pretty location to be working in!
The Sotka Lab members have been VERY busy building a tank storage set up for the different live samples that will arrive from Japan. Paige and Lauren helped Stacy construct these bucket structures with filters below.
On May 28th, Stacy is heading to Japan to meet Dr. Sotka for a month of research in the field. They will be collecting live seaweed samples for phenotyping and to learn more about the genetics of these foreign samples.
While Dr. Sotka has some research supplies already with him, Stacy has been packing lots of things that will help her conduct research!
What is she bringing?
Stay tuned for more updates about their travels!
We've been busy planning for our upcoming trip to Japan! We've been contacting Japanese colleagues and pouring over maps to figure out where we will be sampling Gracilaria and some other inverts and seaweeds!
When not folding foil into little envelopes to weight the Gracilaria specimens or filling silica gel bags, I've been editing three manuscripts that will be submitted in the next week for review! Fingers crossed that they get accepted!
I was also awarded a small research grant through the Systematics Research Fund. There were 173 applications, but only 31 were funded so I feel very fortunate to have been awarded the funding to finish a small project I started on another invasive seaweed while I was a post-doc in the UK. I'm looking forward to adding samples from its native range in Japan and its invasive range in North American and European coasts this summer.
My mom came for a visit and she helped me take pictures of diploid (2 sets of chromosomes) and haploid (one set of chromosomes) individuals that had settled onto some PVC posts I placed out in the mudflat last year as well as weighing the algae so we can calculate the water content. With Dr. Courtney Murren, we will be analyzing these images to see whether there are differences between the three types of individuals we find on the mudflats here in Charleston. This might give us some insight into why one of the ploidies (the number of sets of chromosomes within an organisms) is more dominant than the other. Check back for updates on these small project that Courtney and I are doing!
Erik and I have sent out one of the first manuscripts describing the invasive history of Gracilaria vermiculophylla to all of our co-authors! This is one step closer to getting it submitted for publication. It is the culmination of several years of work generating the data and several months of solid work analyzing all the data and crafting the story!
We've all also been really busy planning our first sampling trip to Japan which starts in just a few weeks! We are still working out protocols for all the sampling!
I am hoping to get back in the lab to do a bit of genetic work before travel begins, but with several more manuscripts on my desk, I foresee some long days (and nights) in the lab/desk
I just got back from NIMBioS (www.nimbios.org) working with Sean Hoban. We were developing a framework for sampling haploid-diploid organisms, like Gracilaria vermiculophylla, to study their population dynamics. More than just seaweeds have this type of life cycle, including ferns, mosses and fungi, so our methods could be used by scientists working with any of these organisms. It was a fantastic week and we were able to get most of our work done and are currently writing up our results in a paper we hope to submit before our summer world tour cranks into high gear.
Speaking of which, Erik and I have been working out the whens, whos and wheres of our sampling. We are going to be traveling to Japan, along both coasts in North America and to Europe this summer to early autumn and it takes A LOT OF PLANNING! Paige and Sarah are also hard at work developing techniques so that we can phenotype all the algae we bring back. Currently, we're all working out the final kinks in our culturing methodology so we'll be ready for all Gracilaria!
The rest of my time has been spent writing several other manuscripts on the invasive history of this seaweed. If I'm not in the lab, then I'm anchored to my computer for the next few months!
I've been finishing up my phenology sampling which I've done every month for the last year and some interesting patterns are emerging. I also am now writing a weekly post on the blog called The Molecular Ecologist. And, I was awarded a travel grant to go to NIMBIOS in Knoxville, TN to work with another post-doc Sean Hoban on developing some sampling strategies for seaweed population genetics!
The Scientists Tell all!
Stay updated with what the Sotka Lab scientists have been up to with their blog posts.
Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum
40 Patriots Point Rd.
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
40 Patriots Point Rd.
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464