By Eilea Knotts
I didn’t actually know how long I would have at my international institute when I applied for the LOREX. I wrote my application like I would have the entire summer…three months worth of work…but I also added at the end that much of the analysis could be done back at my home institution. By the time I was accepted and discussing travel plans I decided on six weeks (out of the eight offered) to get my project done. I wrote out a schedule, discussed it with my collaborator, and finalized the travel plans.
This week marks my transition into the “halfway done” phase. Three weeks down, three more to go! Holy moly it is flying by! And nothing is going according to plan. What else is new? Science! I mean, when you are on such a short time scale, anything and everything can and will go wrong. I guess we make our schedules optimistically and then watch them crumble. My first three weeks were supposed to be experiments and then transition to only working on modeling. Ha, that didn’t happen.
My phytoplankton (i.e. diatoms) and another lab member’s dinoflagellates are struggling to stay alive in the artificial seawater up here. No one else is having problems….so we don’t know what is going on. Both the lab mate and I are new, and our phytoplankton have come from stocks that use natural seawater with no issues. We are now trying a bunch of tactics to get them to grow. I haven’t been able to start a single experiment yet because of these issues. And this is sad because I was completely ready to go!
Do you know how I know I have a great collaborator here at Dalhousie? Dr. Finkel and I sat down together, and she gave me great advice. “Keep calm, keep a positive attitude, and just keep moving forward.” I will get done however much I get done in the time I have. Or in other words, what will be, will be. Or, no use crying over spilled milk. I can keep going…but you get the point. “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” Okay, I’m done.
While I attempt to resurrect my phytoplankton, I have the modeling part of my project to work on. I think it was the best idea to make sure I had two projects to work on in case one did not go according to plan. Currently, I am now diving into the modeling world with differential equations. It’s complicated but I feel like I am learning something new and keeping busy.
Three more weeks to get everything done! I got this!