Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Chainsaw carving: part 2

Crassostrea virginica larvae, photographed using a dissecting
microscope at 10x magnification. Photo by Erin Houlihan.
There's something very satisfying about finishing a manuscript. As you know, I've been analyzing data on oyster larvae behavior, whittling the results down to reveal a meaningful story. As of today, I am finally finished! I drafted two complete manuscripts, both about settlement behavior of the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica. One focuses on larval behavior at different ages, while the other is about how oysters settle in low pH conditions brought about by ocean acidification.

With the first complete draft of the manuscripts finished, it's my co-authors' turn to sculpt. Four other people are involved in the oyster studies - scientists who designed the studies, ran the experiments, and collected the data. The project has really been a team effort - I was just the one designated to write up all of the results. It's been fun, though. I've gotten to know a phenomenal undergraduate and another postdoc in the process. Often, the best part about science is the people I get to work with.

It feels like I've been climbing a hill and finally reached a crest at the top. To stick with my chainsaw metaphor, though, I should tell you I've finally turned off my beastly, gas-powered tool and let it fall from my hands into the sawdust. Taking a breath of sweet-smelling air, I step back, rip off my dusty gloves, and gaze at my creations. I push a sweaty lock of hair from my face. "That'll do," I whisper to myself, "that'll do."

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