I've Been A Boring DNA Extractor
I now have a total of 16 DNA extractions related to the Telogia project. Six of them were done today. It requires a 3-hour water bath incubation at 55 deg. C at the beginning to give the protease opportunity to break down the cells and especially the nucleus. Since school begins Wednesday, I was able to use these three hours to talk to a bunch of different people about courses, teaching intro biology labs, and general business before I had to duck out and get back in the lab for the last stages of the process that involve cleaning and concentrating the DNA product. If I have a whole day open I will try to do 12 at once, my limitation since our countertop ultracentrifuge only has a capacity for 12 tubes, and much of this process involves short centrifuging bursts. After three rounds with this extraction kit I think I almost know what I'm doing, and I haven't dropped or blown up any tubes.
One and maybe two students are seriously interested in working on a project to describe the life histories of the silver shiner and blotchside chub in the Flint River. My plan is to take 20 roughly monthly, and monitor size classes, sex ratio, and gonadal development in the spring. The trick to this will be what we can do over the winter when the river is higher and faster (besides be careful!). There's some literature on the silver shiner's life history at the extreme northern edges of its range in Michigan and southern Ontario. One broad question we will try to address is how different is the species' life history here at the extreme southern edge of its range. It could be fun!