BISC413 Lab 3, September 2: Field trip to White Clay Creek

Today, many of you will collect the species you'll use for the allozyme project. Those of you with marine species will help out your teammates.

In the field

We'll meet at the lab (you can leave your stuff locked up there) and then walk up towards White Clay Creek. Everyone should bring one plastic container for temporary storage of whatever organism you're helping to collect. Everyone except Amy, Becky, Rachel and Sarah should also bring:

In addition, some of you should bring specialized equipment for catching your organism; I'll provide all of these. Bryan and Ryan should bring a couple of paper towels each, to keep their stream crustaceans moist. Andrew should bring a net for catching water striders. Adrienne should bring a stick with a hook on it, for pulling down high branches with webworms on them. John should bring a narrow-necked bottle and a plastic funnel for catching his weevils. Carrie should bring a large plastic bag for collecting walnuts. Nick should bring a couple of large screw-top plastic jars and two sheets of black plastic for catching honeybees.

The goal for today will be to collect one to two dozen individuals of your species, so that you learn where they live, what they look like, and how to catch them. In subsequent field trips you'll go separately as a team and probably won't have me there to help, so pay attention today.

When you collect your species, label the container in clear printing. Label the container, not the lid (it's too easy to switch lids around), and label a piece of tape, don't write directly on the container (so we can reuse the containers). Your label should include:

Also draw a clear map of your collection location in your lab notebook. This does not need to be artistic, but it should be detailed enough, with enough clearly labelled landmarks, that a student next year could look at your map and go to the exact location. If you have a phone with true GPS (not just cell-tower triangulation), you can also record the collecting location using it; but you should still draw a map.

In the lab

Back in the lab, you'll put your organisms in a plastic container with some desiccant. Be sure to put a piece of tape on the container and label it as described above. Each organism should have at least 10 times its volume in dessicant. Put the container in the freezer as soon as you're done. Freezing with dessicant is a low-budget way of freeze-drying organisms. This will help preserve the enzymes that you're going to look at with electrophoresis. Freezing alone will preserve the enzymes, but repeated cycles of freezing and thawing will be bad for them. Freezing combined with drying will result in a sample that is stable at room temperature for quite some time.

Nicky's earthworms are gigantic, so he and his teammates will have to chop a small piece from each earthworm and preserve it.

Nick's bees will be angry, so he'll need to chill them on ice (not freeze them) to get them out of the container safely. Slowing down your organisms by chilling them might be helpful for some of the other organisms, as well.

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