Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer SCI-cation OR Science EMPIRE...of SCIENCE!

I know I SEEM like a slacker, but check out what I made while all y'all thought I was kicking it poolside sipping on a mai-tai (Figure 1):

Figure 1.  SCIENCE EMPIRE!!!!! of SCIENCE!!! Genuine bonifide electrified science thing! 
First of all, this should be the song playing in your head while you read this:

My dad and I built this bomb-proof bastion of experimental ecology with our own two hands!  Witness my dad (Figure 2) and I (Figure 3) building:

Figure 2. My dad building. Way to do go, dad!  Father-daughter bonding time!

Figure 3. I building. Check out my rad new cordless drill, too! You know your 
dad loves you when he gives you a drill that's better than his own for your birthday.

Proof. We built it.  So ... uh, is it rude to ask at this point what it is that it is? Not at all my good man!

I made a rack system to provide flowing sea-water to mesocosms (Wikipedia knows everything!).  So what you're looking at are 5 racks with three shelves, each shelf having 7 valves, so I can provide a total of 105 separate plastic shoe boxes/mesocosms with independent sea water flow.  The tupperware boxes on the middle three racks in Figure 1 are, you guessed it, said mesocosms.  Water flows into the shoe boxes and then leaves the racks via a gutter system.  

Doing science is fun because you get to learn all sorts of new skills that you will only ever use once.  I had construction experience before this project, but I can now add plumbing (PVC) and gutter installation to my CV.  Sort of ... there have been some occasions on which it looked more like a water park than PhD research.  

More details will follow about what exactly I'm doing with this contraption. But over the next three [or so] years, I'll be running experiments using this system.  It's all being done at Shannon Point Marine Center (SPMC = rad), which is affiliated with Western Washington University.  The place is overrun with bald eagles and tame deer, it's a little nuts.  I will also point out that this venture has obviously not been free. 

Scope my donor recognition system:

Figure 4. Thank you, UW Biology Edmondson Award!

Figure 5. Thank you, Conchologists of America!
I also have to thank the Pacific Northwest Shell Club (as always) because they are the raddest people ever, as well as the UW Wingfield-Ramenofsky Award.  They both have little plaques too, but I don't yet have anything running on those racks, so it looks boring.

As of yesterday, experiment one is off and running!  So, barring any further unscheduled geyser activity at Shannon Point, Ima do some science!

1 comment:

  1. Nice work! You guys look like pros. Also, I can't believe the size of your setup. Nice experimenting!