Sometimes the end of summer can be just as busy as the start. We’re all finished with sampling at Trout Lake Station – Alex’s bog samples are safely in the freezer, and Cristina’s biofilms grew well and are currently undergoing DNA extractions. Back in Madison, sampling on Mendota and the alum project are still continuing. We’ll continue sampling until the weather gets too cold! The plan is to get results from the alum project this winter.
Our other big project this summer was 24 hour RNA sampling on Lake Mendota. We’re excited to say that the extractions went well and the sequencing data looks good! RNA can be tricky to work with – it degrades very quickly, and on top of that, humans produce enzymes on our skin that degrade RNA as a defense against pathogens. So RNA extractions are a great test of sterile technique! We’re beginning to analyze the sequencing data and start learning the answers to the questions that led to this experiment.
Finally, we are preparing for the Wisconsin Science Festival this week. We will be hosting a table at the Discovery Expo in the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery from 9AM-2PM this Thursday and Friday. Stop by to build your own small scale Winogradsky columns! These columns are “mini-lakes,” where you can cultivate a diverse group of freshwater bacteria and watch them grow. Hope to see you there!