Loay Jabre, PhD Candidate, Bertrand Lab, Dalhousie College
nineteenth Could, 2022
In what looks like eternity, the final two weeks at sea have been nothing in need of eventful. We christened our expedition with a storm that rendered many people ineffective for days, however after a number of good tosses across the ship, we emerged on the first station to search out brilliant blue skies and calm seas. We had been wanting to lastly start work, and to start out filling empty filters and vials with samples! On this expedition, I’m working carefully with Rebecca Stevens-Inexperienced (PhD Candidate, LaRoche Lab) and Scott Pollara (PhD Candidate, Bertrand Lab) to gather phytoplankton samples that might later be used for genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics analyses. We’re amassing these samples at totally different places and depths to survey the microbial neighborhood throughout the Northwest Atlantic area. I’m additionally sustaining the 2 massive incubators that we are going to use for deck incubation experiments, and fiddling round with a PlanktoScope to visualize and hopefully quantify the totally different phytoplankton teams within the water.
PlanktoScope–One other factor I’m very enthusiastic about on this expedition is our newly constructed PlanktoScope. That is an open-source (www.planktoscope.org)instrument that can be utilized to picture and rely small phytoplankton cells, in a way much like a movement cam, however orders of magnitude extra reasonably priced. Planky, our PlanktoScope, is the results of a collaborative initiative we began at Dalhousie College wherein college students from numerous disciplines (biology, engineering, oceanography, pc science) labored collectively to construct a PlanktoScope, with the aim of utilizing it for analysis and outreach.(www.loayjabre.com/projectplanktoscope)
Planky has by no means been to sea earlier than, nevertheless it has accomplished a beautiful job to this point! We’re studying extra concerning the instrument and its capabilities whereas being on a transferring ship. Along with seeing a number of centric and pennate diatoms, Planky helped us uncover the explanation behind slower-than-normal filtrations and blocked filters and nets: a Phaeocystis bloom, which produces sticky carbohydrates that wreak havoc on something with small pores (i.e. filters and nets).