Chicken Wire and Wiring Circuits

Today was our last meeting before finals week and spring break were upon us. The first thing on Miles’ agenda was to go over what we have and what we need. We had two rolls of wire, chicken wire, tomato cages, stakes, and the brassica seeds. We had also ordered the snap pea seeds, mylar strips, batteries, and new, brighter LED’s. We still needed zip-ties, tangle paste, solo cups, Styrofoam and plastic bowls (styrofoam for pitfalls, plastic for lights), white fabric (since Louie called Ace and Home Depot and they didn’t have white window screen), and soap (to use in the pitfall traps instead of ethanol). We ordered these items in class and assigned myself to pick up three yards of white fabric and soap with Keatyn on Friday. We also need photo-resisters. During this discussion, Denise made a budget form so that we could keep track of what we plan to spend and what was actually spent as time goes on.


After this discussion, John presented wiring and layout options to us for our field project. There were three favorite layouts among the group: a 5×6 cluster, 5 clusters of 6, and 3 clusters of 12. The five clusters of six were shown the door first because of the massive amounts of wire that would be necessary. Then came a large discussion about what was possible. If we were to do the three rows of twelve, then we would have 108 replicates instead of 90. Kyle offered this up as a good option since it is possible that we will lose treatments. However, this was countered because of the large amount of work with adding 18 treatments and the amount of wire that it would take. We talked about the possibility of a 6×6 grid to increase treatments, but we finally settled on doing three 5×6 grids in parallel, each attached to a battery. These batteries would be in the middle so that the solar panel could be ea
sily moved to charge all three.

Then, of course, there were more decisions to make. One was about watering and whether it was even worth the effort. We decided that, if possible, we would replace the plants every week and that way we could measure herbivory on many plants and keep young, tender plants out for insects. We also decided that we would have out kill pitfall traps out for 48 hours once a week. The other five days we would have the trap out with a stick in it so creatures can crawl out.

After this very stressful endeavor, the mood of the class changed drastically when we all started cutting chicken wire for our enclosures. We started cutting two pieces for each tomato cage, both of 57cm to allow a little bit of a corridor for moths to fly through. We had a blast joking about tetanus, lockjaw, and wearing gloves vs not wearing gloves and then filled out Louie and Marshall’s evaluations. It was a great way to end a day.

We made plans to meet next Tuesday and set up the circuit to see if it will work.


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