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Status [science; ants]

Where were we?

Fourth of July, I guess. Spent the morning weighing ant queens, then the early afternoon getting caught up on various things. I should have packed lunch, but ate two grocery store donuts instead. Oh well. In the evening [personal profile] scrottie and I walked over to Boulders for a beer and discovered they were closed for the holiday. So we went to Palo Verde, where we were the only customers. The bartender told us interesting things about some 'zine vending machines she's set up at different locations around the Valley. She was pretty great. That was the best Palo Verde experience ever, but I can appreciate that a quiet bar is antithetical to a successful bar-running business model.

After weighing the ant queens, there were debates over What to Do with the Queens, so Thursday started off with a quick check on the state of the queens, and then a big meeting in the War Room. Good to get a sense of how various different efforts would mesh together.

Next on the agenda, working with a grad student to measure the ants' respiration rates. I thought we'd be able to get underway that day, but soon discovered that the whole setup wasn't quite as ready to go as I'd been led to believe. After telling S about the state of this task, he says he's going to buy me my own respirometry rig, and really, he isn't far off the mark (aside from the fact that the instrumentation tends to be very expensive). Lots of scrapping about for various tubes and wires and sensors, and even after all of that we still failed to get the activity detector to work correctly.

Ah well. Sigh.

So by the time we got things more-or-less figured out, it was time to rush home and then over to the ceramics studio.

Several pieces were glaze-fired, but I think at this point I'll save the details for a separate post.

Today consisted of more respirometry measurements, plus more time spent putting individual ant eggs into individual tubes to see how much they weighed, all while surrounded by Chatty McChatterson grad students. Friendly, in the Arizona way, I guess.

Thankfully my PhD advisor is spearheading all of the behavioral measurements that have to happen over the next 3 days. She wants to test the hypothesis that queens with higher metabolic rates are the same queens that dig more. I have a gut feeling that her hypothesis won't be supported, but of course am keen to see the actual data.

It will be good to get back to working on data analysis and writing. This has been a week of silly nonsense in terms of experiments/studies/lab time, which is okay but not my main reason for being here.

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