Since my last blog post, I have made a great amount of progress with my research. On November fourth, my faculty mentor and I went to the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center to run all 120 water samples from Trinidad for nitrate and ammonium. I was able to meet Claire Koehler, a research technician working in Dr. Andrew Reinmann’s and Dr. Peter Groffman’s labs in the Environmental Sciences Initiative at the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center. She was able to train and help me run all my samples. By comparing nutrients, levels of fecal contamination and macroinvertebrate samples, I hope to make some conclusions about the impact that agriculture is having.
I used two different microplates, one to test for ammonium and nother to test for nitrates. Pipetting all the samples and reagents into wells of a mircoplate carefully was time consuming, but for me it was fun! I was able to use an eight channel automatic pipette, something that was new to me that the Pace labs do not have. After pipetting everything into each well, I placed the microplate into a microplate photometer to run my samples for the chemical compounds. Running the samples in the microplate photometer is amazing because it only takes a few minutes to get results for a vast amount of samples. The microplate photometer was also able to generate the results into a graph through a computer software.
I am going back to Southern Trinidad on January 16th to conduct my last macroinvertebrate sampling. January is the beginning of the dry season in Trinidad, so I would like to see if there is any difference with my wet season sampling. I am very excited to go back and to start writing my final research paper.