Feb. 28th, 2017

rebeccmeister: (cricket)
State of the science:

-I am making progress on two manuscripts. My PhD advisor is largely giving the next leafcutter manuscript the go-ahead for submission, finally. The final stages always take way longer than one would like, but they're concrete. The significance statement will still need some thorough work, but I suspect we can ask someone else for solid help with it. Meanwhile, I've gotten caught up on the most recent literature in the field of nutrition and ageing, and am making progress on couching our related project in the appropriate context. Rewarding stuff to think about.

-I am running a couple more circadian trials with the current species, Gryllus firmus, the Florida sand cricket. Specifically, I feel like we need to finish exploring a final hypothesis about lipid metabolism. After we determined that our original lipid tracer was too high in concentration to really be a tracer, most of our efforts have focused on quantifying lipid metabolism by injecting a low-concentration tracer. As I read and think more about lipid metabolism, however, I'm coming to think that there could be interesting differences between the crickets in their capacity to oxidize lipids across the circadian cycle even if there aren't constitutive differences in lipid oxidation rates. Plus we are only missing data from 2 timepoints, one of which has the potential to be especially informative and interesting, based on our other data. I'll admit I'm glad the missing data aren't from the 9 am or 1 am timepoints.

-We also have questions about interactions between feeding and nutrient oxidation rates. For all of the Florida cricket experiments, I withheld food for 4 hours prior to the oxidation trial. With our video setup, we should soon have data about feeding patterns, but I'll also do some experiments comparing fed and starved crickets so we can get a better handle on feeding influences.

-After all that, I am going to transition over to the California cricket species, Gryllus lineaticeps. My experiments in Nebraska with lab vs. field G. firmus have suggested lab evolution of several aspects of metabolism, which makes it impossible to relate lab findings back to wild crickets. Related to the previous point, we haven't determined what we'll do for feeding status for G. lineaticeps, so there are a number of logistical elements to work out before we take this work to the field in early July.

-For some reason, I volunteered to give a talk on Friday, which I need to write. So of course there are too many interruptions in the lab today to be able to focus on anything. Sigh-ugh.

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