Springfest 2K15

With the realization that we have only 10 weeks left to get done what we need to get done, the group buckled down today for a lot of thinking, planning, and work-doing.

Roger the Calendar

First, we met our new friend Roger (the calendar).

(Sorry I forgot to take a picture of Roger but will do so and update the blog with the picture as soon as possible.)

Kara and Ash gave us a rough estimate of what our schedule will be for the rest of the quarter by thinking about what our goal is for the end and working backwards. There will be changes (and already were some today), and Roger will certainly become a close friend that offers us guidance as we continue to plan and work.

 Reading Groups

Our next step was to meet in the reading groups we were assigned since last class and discuss the papers we were assigned. When reading and discussing, we should keep in mind how these papers inform our research. Should we cite them for our methods, should we cite them because of they inform us conceptually, or both?

Everyone was busy discussing for 15 minutes, but because we only had 15 minutes, our out of class assignment is to meet up with our groups again by next Wednesday and finish discussing the 3 papers as well as identify to other papers that we will read and discuss as a group.

We should keep on filling in our Literature Checklist. Ash added some columns to help us even more in the future when you are referencing these papers. One column addresses if and how we should cite that paper for our methods and the other addresses if and how we should cite that paper for our intro/discussion. So be sure to fill this in for the papers you have already added to the Checklist, and of course do it for future papers!

Method Writing

Next we spent time organizing in some tangible form our methods so far. Since pretty much every group was slacking on actually getting our methods typed out, we split up in our groups today to get this done. For now, our goal is to have methods that, although they may be written in a grammatically sloppy way, are actually very thorough conceptually. We spent some time in groups getting this done. Then we split up, found a partner from another group, and did some peer review of our methods. Not only did this offer some fresh eyes to find some missing details in our own work, but it also gave us the opportunity to get a little more experience learning about what the other groups are doing. After the peer review, we reported back to our groups to share comments from our classmates on how we could fill in the methods. So now the Field group, the Plating group, the Emergence Trap group, and the Mushroom Rearing group all have written methods now, but I think I speak for all groups (and I know this is true for the Field group) that there is work that is yet to be done, so we do not have methods now but we need to stay on top of it when we do have methods and write them down!

New Groups!

For the last part of class we split up into 3 new groups to prepare for the future.

1. What to measure on the mushrooms

  • Kendra, Philip, Viri, Kiely, Alec

2. What to measure on insects

  • Michael, Sonja, Jas, Brendan

3. How and when to put mushrooms in the field

  • Jason, Bonnie, Avery, Sean

In these groups, our job was to think. Think about the specific questions/goals we have, think about what we need to measure to answer those questions or what we need to do to meet those goals, think about what tools we need, think about where this will fit in our timeline, and think if it is feasible.


Group 1: Mushroom Measurements

Number of mushrooms, Diameter of cap, Aging Index, Spore weight, Presence or percent cover of mold, Pot weight, Moisture of compost


All measurements except spore weight could be taken in the few days before the mushrooms go to field and it could be really quick if we had a concerted group effort. For spore weight, we could use mushrooms from extra pots and do this later on when things are less hectic.

Future work:

What will we use for an aging index?

How accurate of a balance do we need to measure spore weight?

Can environmental factors effect spore production?

Group 2: Insect Measurements

Number of individuals per species/morphospecies/family


Insects take a while to emerge and identifying is time consuming, so IDing to family level is most likely. More measurements on insects are not feasible. Additionally, it appears that insects may be emerging well into the end of the quarter, so there may be work in the summer to keep working on the project and get more robust data.

Future work:

Can we get access to another growth chamber to help speed up emergence?

Group 3: Putting Mushrooms in the Field

April 13th: Hopefully first mature flush of mushrooms

April 15th: Put mushrooms in the field

April 22nd: Bring pots back, have emergence traps ready and set them up

Future Work:

All of these dates are very tentative, so we will need to be flexible and keep planning as time goes on.

Springfest 2K15


We gathered after class to finally have our potluck. We met at the fire pit in Putah Creek Reserve. Delicious food and drink was had. Stories were told and laughter was heard. We danced until the sun went down. A more merry time could not have been had. Thanks to everyone for bringing food, drinks, extra plates and utensils. Looking forward to the next one.

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