Building Up Arenas, Breaking Down Traps

Discussion . . .

The first hour of class today was a combination of announcements, re-caps of the weekend, and general discussion:

  1. Monarchs: Over the weekend, Louie checked the milkweeds in the Davis Channel and saw no signs of monarchs. This suggests we should not waste time on collecting monarchs, at least for now, and instead focus on the many sub-projects we are juggling.
  2. Time Lapse Cameras: The time lapse of the fruit fly experiment ran all weekend with only one slip-up… one of the flies didn’t survive. But with a few tweaks and make-shift tripods, this seems to be a promising method for tracking the behavior of insects over long periods of time.
  3. Spod Trays: Kasey checked on his spod tray last night, but by this morning it had vanished! … who would want to steal a sticky tray of caterpillars? Mia saw a beefy fly in her spod tray! Possibly a Tachinid? Sadly, it escaped, but there is a possibility it oviposited on one of the spods! Over all, spod trays seem to allow a higher survival rate than spod pockets, AND they seem to be quicker to construct. Should we make more?
  4. Multi Fruit Fly Trial Prototypes: Vincent described four possible ways we can test fly behavior en mass. Louie pointed out that the resulting data may be skewed by chemical signals, noises, or the sight of other fruit flies, so we wouldn’t be able to treat each fly as an individual. This being said, these trials could provide valuable information for understanding or supporting trends in insect behavior we find in the future.
  5. At the End of the Quarter: Louie explained that although we may not have enough data to form an actual paper by the end of the quarter, we can still collect data that will support future research. Some members of our team are already planning to continue this project into the summer, so any supporting data we record now will make that research stronger!
  6. R Learning: Try to be caught up to week 16 in R assignments by the end of next week! After week 16, most assignments are data-based. Since we don’t have too much solid data yet, Louie and Elizabeth will check our R progress at the end of next week, and we’ll move forward from there.
  7. Meetings: Remember check-ins are this week! Make sure to show up for your time slot! These are not meant to stress you out. They’re just to check in to see how you’re doing with R assignments, how you’re feeling about the class, your hopes and dreams . . .


The second hour of class was spent in action! We split up into teams to tackle:

  • inventing more mass fruit fly testing arenas
  • checking/taking down the last Manitoba trap (lmk if you see any PVC)
  • creating clay caterpillars using Elizabeth’s amazing molds and clay and Louie’s paint
  • recording data from the time lapse cameras, and along the way, finding more efficient ways to do so
  • making more caterpillar diet (thank you for staying after hours Zhizhou, Vivienne, Yu, Elizabeth, and Analisa!!)

For Next Time:

Time flew by! We didn’t have a chance to reconvene at the end, so we’ll do that at the beginning of class on Friday. Then we will divide and conquer in four teams:

  1. Spods and Tachinids team
    • more sentinels, rearing, more re-homing
  2. Time-lapse fruit fly team
    • work out kinks, test cameras, find batteries, build more tripods
  3. Multi-fly test approach team
    • create arenas, work out kinks, maybe decide on a winning creation
  4. Sticky model caterpillar team
    • make model caterpillars, paint, apply tangle foot, decide where and how to deploy them

I am very sorry for the lack of pictures, I got surprisingly invested in building fly arenas, and time slipped away from me. As an apology, please accept this picture of my plump little scorpion boy, Spike.

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