It’s hard to start off a blog post smoothly when the first thing you have to report is that almost all of your ctenophore test subjects are dead and it’s too late to continue on with that same project. It’s even harder to report it knowing that it was due partly or mostly to a rookie mistake. But, this is my real first research experience and I’ve already started on my new project, so cut me some slack here (please)!
Initially, my plan B was to do the same experiment as my ctenophore project with different species, this time using A. tonsa as predator instead of prey and using a protozoan as a prey. That way I could still study trophic transfer of petroleum PAHs and my proposal idea would not change much.
Unfortunately, complications arose regarding which protozoans to use and how to get them, so we moved on to plan C, which is what I’m currently working on. My plan C is to evaluate the tolerance of the dinoflagellate Pyrocystis noctiluca to crude oil and dispersant, and relate it to its ability to bioluminesce. To do this, two experiments will be carried out. The first experiment will evaluate the level of tolerance of P. noctiluca to crude oil by exposing cultures to different concentrations of oil. The second experiment will evaluate the toxicity of dispersant on the dinoflagellate, both as a solitary agent and mixed with crude oil. With the results from the first experiment we’ll be able to choose an appropriate crude oil concentration for our second experiment. The first experiment is already underway so I should have my first data by saturday. The ctenophores may not have agreed with me, but let’s hope the Pyrocystis does. Fingers crossed, everybody!