iUTAH Undergraduate iFellows
Week 10 Recap
July 17-21, 2017
This week I spent most of my time working on the power point presentation as well as uploading data to Hydroshare. I have been tormenting my friends and family with impromptu speeches about fish habitat and obscure statistics after which they smile and nod and say, “I love your pictures!”. Just kidding, I have been given some great feedback including from everyone at the lab and as always Mike. Things are wrapping up but I still have much to do. No field pictures from this week but I thought I’d share another taken a few weeks ago near Smith and Morehouse Reservoir.
This week I have been working with Andy and Susan Durham on finishing up our data analysis for the water quality, and getting my powerpoint and extended abstract done. I've also been working on putting together my video update, which I can hopefully send this weekend.
How is it almost time to end my iFellow experience!? It has gone by so fast! I have learned a lot about modeling, water systems in general, and about myself.
This week I have just been working on my slide show presentation for the 2017 iFellow Symposium and Extended Abstract. Both came together better than I expected. My extended abstract is still in the revision phase, but I am happy with how it has shaped up so far. I am looking forward to presenting my project formally at the iFellow Symposium! But I am also starting to wonder what is in store for me post-iUtah...
This week we were focusing on cleaning up the field data Lindsay and I had gathered between mid May and early July. We got the data up on hydroshare and will be publishing it soon. I also began putting together a power point presentation for the iFellow symposium coming up next week. On Thursday Lindsay and I met with two of Dr. Sarah Null's grad students to give a draft talk of our presentations and got valuable feedback. I've also been writing my extended abstract for the program. I will be continuing to refine both these projects in the coming days.
I can’t believe that this is week 10 and that the iUTAH program is almost over. This week, I spent most of my time on campus or in the lab and had to go back to using R (a statistical analysis program) and excel spreadsheets to analyze the data more in depth in order to connect and apply more themes concerning water demand and conservation to my results. My near-peer mentor helped me with coding the data in different ways so that we could better understand and analyze the various trends and the tree diversity of all of the sampled data. I also started to prepare slides and make my presentation for this up-coming research symposium. The long weekend was nice- after being inside, working at a computer for most of the week, I was able to go camping with friends up Blacksmith Fork Canyon, go to Salt Lake for the Days of ’47 Parade and enjoy fireworks back in Logan Monday night.
This week was primarily spent finishing lab analysis on my samples. With all that done, and putting the finishing touches on it to make sure that lab tests were done with care and quality. The data is looking good, I feel that I have made a big impact on measuring the spatial variation of soil characteristics in the Upper Provo River Watershed. I know that in my discussions with Brian and Colin (the Grad students I work with) they are both excited to see the finished product, and use the data in their thesis papers.
We attempted to run my soil samples on the XRD instrument but it was in use by another lab. We also had hoped to run our summer 2017 Provo River samples on the TOC-L but that instrument ran out of gas as it was analyzing another lab's samples. Lab work has its highs and lows, namely that when things work you can get a lot done and its very reliable data. But when you run out of chemicals, instruments need maintenance, or any other lab mishaps, like contamination, it can be a pain. Learning how to work around the problem is an ongoing learning effort.
This week we got everything situated so that we could run phosphorus on a specific cyanobacteria, aphanizomenon flow-aquae. In order to get ready we got one of the bottles which we call microcosms, and poured BG-11 liquid media into it and with the 3 tubes we added the cyanobacteria, filtered the air that makes it bubble and applied a chemistry wipe to one to allow air to escape. After that we made 2 more microcosms by drilling 3 holes in two lids, and autoclaved the bottles and the lids. The tubing that we were trying to use was autoclavable, except the chemistry store ordered the wrong size tubing for us, and so we were left to use the tubes that aren’t autoclavable. So in order to try to sterilize it we cleaned them off with ethanol and used UV light for 15 minutes. We than concocted our own media, because the BG-11 media had way to much phosphorus. So we added different chemicals and found out the amount of each chemical coming in and we finally made one that closely resembled the water in Utah Lake. This will help us see if phosphorus does have anything to do with the algal blooms. I am really excited to see how the bottles and the algae turn out.
This week in our lab has been spent focussing on presentations and finalizing our projects. I have found it a little difficult to work on my extended abstract because I've been so focused on the field work. We sample 2 times a week at different locations, so there isn't much time left for writing after getting our equipment ready for the next sample date. I'm working on my writing and have some help from my mentors as well.
This week was busy. We completely finished filtering all water column samples and began the final data analysis for the project. We found some new statistically significant results with the new data. I also began working on my 10 minute powerpoint presentation.
An instructional video on how to iFellow and how to research/ science in general courtesy of Desireè Wickwar, Michelle Baker, Rachel Buck, and the memes.
All content provided on this iUTAH Team - Undergraduate iFellows weekly recap is unedited, updated by each participant to provide a review of their progress, and is for informational purposes only.