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Authors

Julie Bailard

Echinacea Project 2019

Biology, Carleton College 2020

Research Interests

I am interested in community ecology, conservation genetics, and interspecific interaction, particularly in the context of pollination and reproduction. This winter, I had the wonderful opportunity to collect and analyze seed set data for Echinacea angustifolia, Solidago speciosa, and Liatris aspera with Team Echinacea. During that time, I came to wonder how the controlled burns used to maintain prairie fragments might influence plants’ interactions with their pollinators, potentially by altering the characteristics of plants’ floral displays in the year after the burn. This summer, I hope to explore other factors that could influence plant-pollinator interactions in prairie fragments.

Statement

I grew up in Menlo Park, California. In addition to studying biology as my major, I am a Cognitive Science minor with a focus on linguistics and neurobiology. I also enjoy learning languages, and while I’ve formally studied French, Spanish, and a little bit of Japanese, recently I’ve been trying my hand at teaching myself Korean. Outside of the classroom, I love to cook, knit, crochet, embroider, play clarinet, meditate with tai chi, and practice Muggle quidditch.

An Exciting Thursday

Hi flog!

We had a really fun day at Echinacea East, full of new and exciting developments.

We’ve starting fertilizing our seedlings and they’re growing like crazy! They’re starting to develop their true leaves, which means we’ll be able to extract their DNA soon.

Avery has been working hard as our Scoring Extraordinaire. We’re super lucky to have her!

Miyauna is having fun chilling with her favorite plant: Waluigi the Welwitschia. She’s been working hard on PCRs while also interrogating the rest of us about our views on the “Self” (she was originally a psychology major).

It was a bittersweet day, though, when Mia left after lunch to drive all the way back home to Buffalo, New York for her sister’s graduation. On Saturday, she’s going to be flying to Arizona to complete her own research and we won’t be seeing her again for a few weeks. Have fun, Mia! We’ll miss you!

Overall, it was an exciting (and thought-provoking) day at Echinacea East!

Until next time,

Ren

On Wednesdays, we wear lab coats

Hey flog!

It was another great Wednesday here in our Ohio lab! Mia and I dedicated most of our morning to PCRs, while Ren and Avery worked endlessly on the computers.

It was a special day as we got to run the student-led journal club for the other researchers in our building. It was a fun learning experience that Avery ran gracefully and smoothly.

Our little baby seeds are doing well and looking as cute as ever thanks to Seed Master Ren. We even are starting to see some true leaves come in!

That is all for today! Until next time flog 🙂

Miyauna

Yale Plates, Scoring, Scavenger Hunts, OH MY!!!

Hello flog!

Out here at the College of Wooster, we have continued to be busy as bees. Seed Master Ren’s seed children are growing up – we have now planted over 80 seeds! Though most of the seeds in this batch we expected to germinate have already, our next batch of seeds will switch over from winter to summer next week, so we should have a lot more soon!

Our plant babies are growing up!!

Mia and Miyauna tag-teamed it today, starting off by running a gel on DNA isolated on Monday and some of the PCRs that have been run so far. Things came out looking pretty good! They then ran some more PCRs (I was on temporary leave as president of PCR) and prepared what is called a mix plate which will be sent off to Yale for genotyping analysis.

I basically did not step into the lab the entire day. Instead, I was helping out and learning how to do data analysis on the results we get back from Yale. For samples of an older project, I was helping to “score” the results and essentially ensure that the data were organized properly so that they can be analyzed without issue in R. So I suppose while the president of PCR was on leave, the excel expert was in the office.

As we wrapped things up for the day, we had an unexpected surprise. We share our gorgeous new science building with many other people, including other lab groups, summer camps, and freshmen orientation sessions. This week, a science camp for middle school girls represents one of our neighbors in Williams Hall. On an end of the day stockroom run, we were accosted by a group of these campers, running down the hallway. Apparently, they were on a scavenger hunt, and they asked if they could ask us some questions. They were a mix of science-related questions and Wooster-related questions, ranging from the most bountiful class of organisms on this campus to the name of our football stadium. One question they were tripped up on was where to find dihydrogen monoxide, which I think all of us got a kick out of. By the end of the scavenger hunt, they probably knew more about our campus than we did. Regardless, it was cheering to see how excited these young girls were about STEM as the next generation of scientists!

Until next time,

Avery

 

Shea Issendorf

Echinacea Project 2019

Alexandria Area High School. Graduating in 2020

Research Interests

I am interested in studying EVERYTHING! I am going into this summer with an open mind since this will be my first exposure to research outside of a high school classroom. Biology has always been my favorite subject in school and I am very excited to get to dive deeper into ecology and evolutionary plant biology. I’m hoping to gain a lot from this summer whether it be collection and analysis techniques, procedure planning, or just an overall better understanding of environmental science. I am eager to learn and can’t wait to get started!

Statement

I have lived in the Alexandria area for my whole life and Minnesota summers have always been my favorite part. I love to spend time out on the lake with my family and friends, fishing a lot and tubing as much as I can, but when I’m not on the lake, I’m playing soccer.  Sadly, our summers do only last about three months around here so I also try to travel as much as I can with my family. And lastly, I am still undecided but I would love to pursue Biology at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2020.

(Here’s a photo of me … I’m on the right)

Women in STEM: Meet the lab equipment

Hello flog!

Today we continued lab work… so I will tell you about the names that we have given all of the lab equipment.

Once upon a time when we in August of 2018 when the new Ison lab was being set up/boxes being emptied it was decided that all of the lab equipment should be named after women in STEM. Thus began the quest to find the perfect name for each equipment. The we started with Rosalind Franklin the new thermocycler. This is a perfect name for a thermocycler because Franklin is famous for her X-ray crystallography work that determined the structure of DNA. Franklin died of ovarian cancer before the Nobel Prize was awarded for determining the structure of DNA making her unable to receive the award that she deserved. Our other thermocycler we have named Martha Chase (Wooster class of 1950) worked with Alfred Hershey to determine that DNA is the heredity unit not proteins. Hershey received the Nobel Prize in 1969 however Chase did not.

Rosalind Franklin

Martha Chase

Our ever loyal centrifuge is named in honor of Chien-Shiung Wu a Chinese American physicist who was a part of the Manhattan project, and made discoveries relating to beta decay. Wu’s colleges who came up with the theory for conservation of parity won the Nobel prize when it was Wu who actually tested this theory (hmmm beginning to see a theme here).

Chien-Shiung Wu

Our hot water bath is named for Barbara McClintock a botanist (#plantsarecooltoo)! She is known for her work mapping out the genome of corn and discovered transposons/jumping genes which are genes that can move around the genome.

Barbara McClintock

Nettie Stevens a geneticist who discovered sex chromosomes and the role they play in sex determination. Stevens had a short career but an impactful one, in the nine years after receiving her PhD she published 38 papers, she then died of breast cancer in 1912. She also was one of the first to use fruit flies as a model organism. We have named our gel rig after her.

Nettie Stevens

In-Young Ahn is the first Asian woman to be an Antarctica station leader she also was the first South Korean woman to visit Antarctica. She is a benthic ecologist studying clams and other bivalves. Due to her work in the Antarctica we have named our freezer after Ahn.

In-Young Ahn

Diana Patterson is the first woman to run the Australian Antarctica station. She has written a book about her time in the Antarctica titled The Ice Beneath my Feet: My Year in Antarctica. We have named our fridge after Patterson.

Diana Patterson

Our homogenizer (shaker) is named for the British entomologist Miriam Rothschild, the company that makes the machine is “BeadBug” hence the entomologist. Rothschild was the leading expert on fleas, she was the first to understand the flea jumping mechanism that allows them to jump very far. She also did work showing how the fleas are able to alter the hormones of their host to aid in their own reproduction!

Miriam Rothschild

Ada Lovelace who we have named our lab computer in honor of, was an impressive mathematician. She wrote the first computer program and algorithm in 1850 this is known simply as “Note G”. She also argued against the existence of AI “The Analytical Engine has no pretensions whatever to originate anything. It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform. It can follow analysis; but it has no power of anticipating any analytical relations or truths.”

Ada Lovelace

We are not quite done there are still some process of equipment that need names but we have named the majority. There are many women in STEM that have gone unrecognized for the work they have done for their field. I understand that naming a piece of equipment is a small recognition but every little bit counts and over time a difference can be made.

See ya’ in a while flog!

Mia

P.S. This Saturday I am heading out to Arizona to do field work with hummingbirds and a desert shrub Coral bean. This work will be for my senior thesis (AHH that’s scary to say/type) where I will be determining how temporal and geographic distances between plants affect matting rates. So I won’t be posting for two weeks, but after that I’ll be back! I promise to come back with stories of cactus, rattle snakes, scorpions and NO ER trips!

Seeing Results at Echinacea East

Hi everyone!

It’s been a fun and productive week at the College of Wooster and we’re already starting to see the products of our hard work!

Avery, Mia, and Miyauna spent the day continuing DNA extractions, this time using fresh samples in an attempt to determine if there is a difference between extracting DNA from fresh or dried leaves.

Jennifer, Avery, and I continued planting seeds and hoping they’ll grow big and tall!

At the end of the day, we had a pleasant surprise when we successfully extracted DNA from the fresh leaf samples with much more ease than the dried samples!

Not only did we find some amazing results with the DNA extraction, but our seeds are starting to sprout their first leaves! You go little guys!

After such an amazing week, I can’t wait to see what the next one holds!

Until next week,

Ren

Amy Waananen

Echinacea Project 2019

PhD Student, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota

Research Interests

I’m interested conservation biology, especially as it relates to pollination, phenology, movement ecology, and population genetics. For my dissertation, I’m studying pollinator-mediated gene flow and trying to figure out under what conditions pollinators maintain connectivity between plant populations in fragmented environments. I think a lot about how the processes that drive how species respond to habitat fragmentation vary among spatial and temporal scales.

Statement

I grew up in a suburb of the Twin Cities and currently live in the silver city of St. Paul. I started working with the Echinacea Project as an intern in 2015. In my free time, I like to spend time outside, read, garden, and go on walks with my dog Gooseberry!

Here’s me on a snowy day!

 

Seedlings, ready to plant!

Hello flog!

If you’ve been reading carefully, you’ll remember that we planted some seedlings here (at Echinacea Team “West” I guess) about a month and a half ago. Now, those seedlings are growing some big ol’ true leaves, and are almost ready to go in the ground!

Happy, watered seedlings!

We have ~1400 seedlings to plant in Minnesota, and more will be coming for College of Wooster. I’m currently working on putting together the master plan for putting these all in the ground. Watch out for a flog about that, because its going to be one busy, dirty day digging in the prairie

 

A productive Thursday at Echinacea East

Hello flog friends!

We are busy here in our Ohio lab working hard, getting stuff done, and having a great time doing it!

Bright and early in our morning, I accompanied Seed Master Ren to visit our little seeds after they’re first summer night in the growth chamber.

Avery, the President of PCR, and Mia, clumsy R ninja, continued running PCRs and getting all of that DNA information.

I even got to head down with Mia to the nanodrop (which was the coolest thing ever). The nanodrop definitely gave us some very interesting results.

We then all came together with Jennifer/Dr.Ison for a very fun and informative lunch gathering.

Ren would then go to check on the seeds and plant the ones that were ready to go! Now that some are planted, we are preparing to baby them as much as possible to get them through the rough first couple of weeks.

After all of this hard work, we even had some time for a lab coat selfie!

We shall see what amazing adventures the next day holds!

Have a great day flog!

Miyauna