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Splits [work]

Things to be working on:

Experiments:
1. The circadian metabolism project. One of TZ's key discoveries has been finding a difference in circadian hormone patterns between the long-winged and short-winged crickets. Prior to this finding, most people had just focused on studying constitutive levels of hormones. However, thanks to careful and extensive measurements, TZ found that there are important differences in the levels of a key insect hormone known as juvenile hormone (JH) between long-winged versus short-winged crickets, at different times of day. In the long-winged crickets, JH titers in the blood fluctuate and reach a peak right at sunset. The short-winged crickets experience minor fluctuations. When hormone levels differ like this, one logical question is, what is that hormone doing? One logical hypothesis is that hormone levels are tied to flight, which primarily happens at night, and only in the long-winged crickets. Flying is likely to involve shifts in metabolism, so we're working to determine how this happens.

There have been hitches. One big logistical hitch at the moment was something of an unknown demon until a day or two ago. Administrative changes and resulting high turnover are causing serious slowdowns in ordering and receiving supplies. I'm having to track down the right people to prod. I have three separate categories of things on order for this experiment, and am tapping my foot as I anxiously wait for them to FINALLY show up.

2. Cricket feeding and respiratory metabolism project. We're trying to get things up and running with a new cricket species here in California, Gryllus lineaticeps, because of concerns about the consequences of working with cricket stocks that have been kept in the lab for 20-plus years. They are developing slowly, slowing things down. The respirometry part is the most rewarding at the moment, because the respirometry setup is here already and running pretty well. Plus there are interesting differences between this species and the one I've primarily worked with up until now (Gryllus firmus).

Writing:
1. Leafcutter manuscript: I've asked my PhD advisor to take a crack at revising the Introduction to this paper because I've been bashing my head up against it without making much progress. In the meantime, new publications keep appearing that are relevant (need to keep up with the literature!), and I need to work on the Discussion. I keep waking up at night thinking about this one.

2. Cricket amino acid metabolism: This is the one I'm crunching away at the most, at the moment, because I'm in a productive phase of the data analysis process that doesn't yet involve too much thinking.

3. Cricket lifespan/reproduction manuscript: I've put this one on hold for the moment because it's too much to think about and I would lose too much time if I tried to work on it simultaneously, because task-switching.

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I also need to review a manuscript on a subject very closely related to the leafcutter manuscript, that is making me nervous about the leafcutter manuscript.

So, I have plenty of things going on, but it's somewhat tricky to figure out how to focus and organize my time. Not a terrible problem, really.

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