Week 10 is here, and I cannot believe how fast the summer has gone! I am astonished at how much we packed into such a limited time. My data is collected and analyzed, my poster finished, and my video in the last stages of editing.
Data collection during the second half of the summer included insect collection and pinning, which I was especially excited about! I used a special vacuum to catch the insect in a plastic tube that I could then transfer to a kill jar.
Time flies, I hope it slows down enough for me to enjoy these last two weeks. Although I can't really complain, this is the part I've been waiting for. I can't wait to start analyzing my data to see what answers lie within.
There is palpable tension in the air at the Chicago Botanic Garden: interns, pressed for time, gather as much data as possible and frantically enter it on spreadsheets as the clock runs down for the summer.
Over the past two weeks, I processed all of the Cirsium hillii seeds (~12,000!) that my mentor and I collected from the field and analyzed the data. Good news is that our pollination experiment seemed to work! Cross-pollinated flowers produced about 50% more viable seeds than open-pollinated flowers, which we expected. Let's just hope it is actually statistically significant!
As we near the end of the 10 weeks, we continue to process the mounds of data we have collected in the hopes of finding something interesting to share with everyone. It has been an incredibly busy 7 weeks but I have enjoyed it. My team is wonderful and makes the, sometimes tedious, work fun.
The Harris Family Foundation Genetics Lab - the lab that has become so familiar over the past 6 weeks as I study the movement of genes through populations. Even though my commute requires an early start, I look forward to walking into that lab and starting my work every day.
Not long after getting out of the car at our field site, sweat trickles out of every pore, mosquitos dive bomb at all directions, thistles scratch at my legs, and fatigue makes this patch of grass look like a really nice place for a nap . . . Shielding the sun from my eyes, I scan the prairie for where we need to go: about a mile or two to a Cirsium hillii population in need of some help.
It’s currently week six of the internship and I’m a bit blown away by how fast it went by. I can already tell from where I’m at now in my project that there’s so much more I want to do with it. The interest that I had when I chose and first started this project has turned into ardent fervor.