Forest Yielding the Best Fruits

By Gabi, Paradis, Chloe, and Daniel

Another day of finding ourselves in the forest of science began with the Eelgrass Wasting Disease survey. With Morgan Eisenlord, a Cornell University marine ecologist studying infectious diseases, biodiversity and trophic ecology at the Friday Harbor Labs. We went to 4th of July beach to get some samples of eelgrass, with which we would later scan to examine for the prevalence and severity of a pathogen causing a wasting disease in the leaves of the plant. At first we were worried about putting our hands in the stinky, gross water and worried about our feet getting soaked since the tide was really high when we arrived at the beach. But little did we know that being exposed to weird, rare experiences would make us feel like real scientists who are ready to step up and walk through the challenges of everyday science life. It was a fun moment of knowing that science doesn’t come only with glory, but also with hard work, commitment, perseverance and collaboration. After collecting our samples we headed back to the dorm to grab lunch and get ready for an afternoon of analyzing our samples.

With full stomachs, we headed to the lab. Morgan and her team (Miranda and Clio) welcomed us in the lab with many plastic sheets and scrapers to make pressings of our data in order to scan it. It took us a while, but by the time we were done our numerous amount of eel grass data was more than encouraging. Looking at our data we were able to pin point how much area on a plant was infected as well as how many plants on average were affected. With the application of J image we were also able to observe the amount of already dead chloroplasts among our data. Having this much information at our fingertips made for a much more involved understanding of Morgan’s work with infections diseases as well as what she would be presenting that evening at our dorm.

After we finished up with the eelgrass we have some exploration time, so some people went into town while others tried to catch up on some sleep.When it was time for dinner with our guests Morgan, Miranda and Clio. Morgan gave a presentation on eelgrass wasting. That was our day.

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