Today was another amazing team effort to do our final push in the field.
At the start of our time together we made some big decisions together and rallied to go into the field.
1.) Let go of using the Pleurotus in our study
Our ambitous exploration efforts allowed us to collect, observe, test and measure many variables relating to the role of galls in the understory of valley oak trees. Not all of our efforts ended with collecting significant information. We experienced this with the Pleurotus portion of the project. Assembling the rearing bags then providing them with optimal growing conditions turned out a bit more complicated than antisipated. Needless to say we have 180 replicates of barely colonized, kinda infested with fungus gnats, and mostly fermenting oak tree wood chips. But have no fear! All will be responsibly composted.
2.) Potentially looking at nematodes in our float samples from our Agaricus growth substrate.
This could happen over summer and under the mentorship of knowledgable individuals on campus. They seemed excited and estimated it take 20 hours of work for significant data collection.
3.) Process for samples from the field.
Took this to the chalk board for some visual guiding. We agreed to take 1/2 of each replicate. We decided on using a knife to cut down the center. We also took a 1 inch “cake slice” for more gravemetric analysis.
4.) What we plan on doing with these samples
We will be using the substrate collected in at least three ways. First, for immediate floating to see if we have eggs or any adult insects in our samples. Second, we will use some for gravametric analysis. Third, the growth room that we have access to will be emptied of the sad Pleurotus growth bags and filled with insect emerging traps over the remaining part of the Agaricus samples. This last part will be a summer “spill-over” task given the fact that it takes at least 3 weeks to get a good amount of insect emergence.
5.) Keep up on R practice and working together to learn the basics
There are more meetings and hangouts to be announced for looking at the data we have already collected and think about which questions we want to answer.