Turning the Crank Forward

Hey folks! Sorry this blog is a bit late – I mixed up the dates that I was blogging for. But no matter! Tuesday was another productive day for everyone, as we keep turning the crank on all of our experiments (to quote Louie once again). Each team is largely self-sufficient right now, and making steady progress on their projects!

Team Model Caterpillars

Since I have been on this team, I can speak the most about our work on Tuesday. Team Model Caterpillars spent most of our two hours finishing our models. We learned early on that the transparent fly paper was too inflexible to make models out of – the prototypes we made last Friday had come apart when we came in on Tuesday. The opaque fly paper, however, had fared much better. After fixing up the tubes that had blank spots exposed, we glued together our “2D caterpillar” models: cardboard, patterned paper, and transparent fly paper layered together. With only minor gluing incidents, we had pieced together both sets of models. We decided the 2D models would be set out at the experimental ecosystem, but since we were still waiting to hear back from the folks who manage that, we kept them to be put out on Friday. We finished up Tuesday by putting out our tubes of painted opaque fly paper in the North Davis Channel! They looked good out there (I wish I’d taken a picture), so we hope they catch some flies for Friday. Unfortunately, we ran out of time while placing the models, so we got back to the lab a bit late (hopefully we didn’t miss too much).

Team Choice Arenas

After Friday’s results, Team Choice Arenas decided to shift focus. On Tuesday, they joined up with Team Time-Lapse (which I’m sure was greatly appreciated – the extra hands seem like a lot of help!)

Team Time-Lapse

Team Time-Lapse was also very busy on Tuesday, moving along with their trials. Unfortunately, I was very focused on flypaper caterpillars, so I don’t know all of the details of what Team Time-Lapse accomplished. But I do know the highlights! Last Friday we discussed the unusual pattern in the data, showing flies tended to prefer the north edge of the petri dish, and that a stripe effect may be entangled in that as well. So on Tuesday, Team Time-Lapse set about finding a way to explain this pattern. Two hypotheses I heard floating around are a temperature gradient forming in the petri dish (it may be small, but even small differences can be important to flies) and magnetism (flies tending to orient themselves more towards magnetic north, for reasons unknown). Mia found some literature to suggest flies can detect magnetic fields, so it’s plausible! To test this directional effect separate from stripes, all-grey arenas were printed out and more trials run with them. We’ll have to take a look at the data on Friday to see if the pattern persists!

Looking Forward

As I noted earlier, both teams have a great guiding direction right now, so deciding Friday plans is relatively easy. Team Model Caterpillars has to collect the models we put out on Tuesday, then put out our second batch – 2D models at the experimental ecosystem, and potentially more tubular models if we have the time to make them! I imagine Team Time-Lapse will continue investigating the directional effect we observed before – so Friday will likely entail running more trials to isolate stripe and directional effects, and loads more data analysis as we push forward to writing the first drafts of our papers. I’m looking forward to seeing what kinds of interesting things we find!

Not technically a Tuesday pic, but representative of team Model Caterpillars’ struggle. That fly-paper is sticky!

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