July 18, 2007
As I arrived at the lab, the R/V Endeavor was preparing to leave for another research voyage. The pier was bustling and the crew were making final preparations. They pulled away from the pier at about 9:00 and steamed down the Bay. Matt was telling us that they would be cruising up to Canada for some studies off of George's Bank.
Today we would be setting up the chlorophyll extractions that were filtered and frozen on Monday. Matt was also showing two graduate students from the main campus of the University of Rhode Island how they set up and ran their chlorophyll analysis. They were looking for a method to also measure chlorophyll in algae that were settling on their shellfish cultures. They had a fluorometer but couldn't decide on which method would work best for their study. Matt showed us the machine and went over the testing protocols that they were using in their work. His explanations were clear and easy to follow. I think he may be a born teacher!
After the "show and tell" we began the work for the day. The filter papers had to be extracted with acetone in order to prepare the samples for analysis. The papers that I had set up on Monday were transferred to conical tubes, assigned a sample number and flooded with acetone. The tubes were then returned to the freezer where they were held overnight.
After we completed this work, Leslie took me up to the Pell Marine Science Library. Here she was looking for a journal that she could submit one of three articles she was writing on her work in Narragansett Bay. We talked about the importance of documenting her work and sharing her findings with others. This is a skill that I emphasize constantly to high school students when we work in lab. It will be great to be able to show my students that this is really what goes on in the world of research.
She gave me a copy of her article which summarized her research to date. My homework was to read it and give her feed-back. She also said that once it was published, I could use it in my classroom. This will be a great resource to make connections to real world applications of chemistry that is being taught in high school.