The Effects of Heat Stress on Microgametophyte Viability in Arabidopsis thaliana (Blog #2)

Over the summer months, I have sought out to investigate and gain a better understanding of how an increase in global temperatures will affect overall plant growth and reproduction. It is undeniable that global climate change is occurring, however if we are the contributing to the rise in temperatures we must decide as a whole to use current technologies to mitigate our impact.

The literature shows a strong correlation between increased temperatures and an inability for many organisms to tolerate the increase, but what about our economically valuable plants?  Our agricultural plants?  Cultivated ornamentals?  What about the grasslands and deciduous forests?  Plants do not have the option to leave and area when it becomes inhospitable.  Our research efforts are concentrated on showing morphologically and physiologically what can happen to these organisms in the face of climate change.

One of the results of my literature searches and readings have helped me to determine the specific protocols I will use to help answer my research question.    For the sake of reproducibility, I have selected more than one protocol to target each of my parameters: pollen size, pollen count, pollen morphology, and pollen viability. We have received in all chemicals and reagents in order to go forward with the selected protocols, I put together an extensive timeline for the project, from seed germination to data collection, and have begun planting.

As with any research project, I knew that I was bound to face a few obstacles. The purpose of research and experimentation is trial and error. It is called research, after all!  I have been able to apply my coursework into a real-life laboratory setting. Between the courses I have taken at Pace and my work as a Laboratory Technician for the Department of Biology, I feel better prepared to work within time constraints and with my ability to juggle and multitask.   Finding protocols that were going to help me answer my specific research questions proved to be a bigger challenge than expected, but I was also familiarizing myself more the current scientific literature in the process.  Working with live organisms also presents a unique set of challenges!  I have learned many valuable lessons from this experience that include time management and ‘how to do science.’

As I have advanced throughout my college career and working on this research project, which I will continue into the next academic year, I have decided that working in a laboratory setting is something that is very interesting to me.  As I continued to spend more time in the lab this summer I realized I would like to continue with this type of work in my academics and hopefully someday as a fulltime career.  After I graduate, I am considering graduate work in Ecology or Environmental Science. I really enjoy the independence that comes with working in a laboratory setting and I feel confident that I could pursue a career in the same type of work environment. Ultimately, Professor Kipp and I would like to have our work published and I would also like to gain the experience of presenting my work at appropriate conferences.   .

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