Team Labby Assembles

Today (8/14/14) was not only my brothers birthday it was also the day that team labby assembles the final experiment and Maya taught us about models. It started with a great lecture that had me 110% convinced that I needed to know about modeling. Then I got to try it out for myself. We modeled the effect of elephant walking paths on vegetation regeneration as well as the effect of oyster filtration on disease. Modeling is very new to me I have never done it before but I can see how it could be benificial to some of the research I have done with mate choice in vertebrate populations. For my senior research thesis I examined the MHC diversity between mated pairs in different populations and compared the nucleotide diversity of the different populations to see if populations in which mates tend to choose individuals that genetically different from themselves with respect to MHC loci had less nucleotide diversity than populations in which mates tended to choose individuals randomly with respect to MHC loci. Although it would be a tricky thing to wrap my brain around I could definetly see how modeling could help us understand the role of MHC diversity in mate choice and immunocompetence. I think one potential obstacle might be, however, that not enough data has been collected to generate a meaningful model. That could just be my inexperience with modeling. Afterwords Amanda, Casey, Rachel and I set up a labby filtration experiment and I learned more about qPCR. I found out that yes qPCR only directly quantifies the amount of DNA that has been replicated for a given step, but it does this by generating an equation that explains the changes in florescence (and thus DNA). This equation can then be used to calculate the amount of DNA that was present at the beginning of the experiment. I suspected that qPCR was able to quantify the amount of DNA somehow but I just wasn’t able to conceptualize it until Amanda and Casey patiently explained it to me. After setting up the filtration experiment we used hemocytometery  to count labyrinthula cells in the sea water. I did not see any. All in all it was a very productive day.

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