Since my last update I have hit a few snags. My samples did not keep as well as I had hoped they would over winter break and I lost the half of the samples that I had not yet identified. I also had some problems getting all of the necessary supplies together, accidentally getting the wrong size pipettes. The good news is that I still have all of the water samples I collected, so it will not be a problem to simply restart that process for those half. This won’t waste much time either, so it isn’t a disaster. I have also gotten the correct pipettes since.
I am currently getting all of my identified samples ready to make frozen stock out of them. Remarkably, all of my already identified bacteria survived the break and are growing wonderfully. (I will attach a picture I took today) This way I will have the samples ready and in the lab to grow whenever I need them. I am about halfway done with identifying the bacteria that I will be using in my experiment. Now that I have all my supplies ready and in the lab, this process should begin moving so much faster.
What I have learned from my project so far is less of a scientific discovery and more of a personal one. I have learned to become adaptive and patient. Working with bacteria, especially those isolated from nature, can be incredibly tiring. It becomes even more complicated when you add work, school, illness, and breaks into the mix. I have had some issues getting my bacteria to grow under lab conditions as they are used to the Hudson supplying their nutrients and growth conditions. The Hudson varies greatly in temperature from season to season, so the bacterial diversity is probably much greater than I am able to see on my simple petri dishes grown in lukewarm conditions. It can be incredibly frustrating when something decides it no longer wants to grow for me, but often times stepping back and giving the organism time or a new growth condition will fix everything.
I have never been a very patient person, but I am slowly getting there with this work. I see things running much more smoothly after from here on out. Hopefully next post I will have much more to tell you!