Just one more day to go! I don’t really have a bunch to say. Glad to be wrapping this class up. I’ve been feeling kind of stressed out over the pace the class has been moving this past week. I feel like working in groups takes some of the load off in some respects but also presents its own difficulties. I am looking forward to starting the fall semester in a couple of weeks and getting back to the stuff that I really enjoy. I have found many of my classes challenging but they were so fascinating to me that it made it less grueling work. I really hated statistics though.
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In July 2019, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Dr. Brewer discovered what appears to be Stigmella multispicata in an American Elm (Ulmus americanus). S. multispicata has only been observed in the leaves of the Siberian Elm (Ulmus pumila)(Nieukerkin et al. 2018). We will identify the presence of S. multispicata in the Ulmus genus, with the exception of U. pumila. We will randomly select Elm trees on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus based on their location. Infested leaves will be collected for study and comparison. S. multispicata was first identified in 2014. There is a need for information on how S. multispicata will affect the Ulmus genus. Further research is required.
This is the last week of class and we have two of our major assignments due. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous about trying to wrap this all up and make it out of the class with a respectable grade. I have slacked on some of the daily writing requirements but I don't appear to be alone in that at least. I really miss my engineering classes. Despite them being difficult, they are truly fascinating! I miss talking about harmonic oscillators and F=ma. I am coming out of this class feeling much more confident in my choice of major. I am also looking forward to exploring some of the extracurricular opportunities I learned about at the last luncheon. I really do like the engineering track. Nervous about thermodynamics but I believe I can get through it. I have to finish my resume so I can get a work study job, too. But I can do that when the week dies down.
Today we discovered that several of our measures designed to determine our leafminer mines weren’t able to be used or relevant. That’s kind of disappointing but I suppose the professors are right and that’s how science goes. I just hope that our group can come up with some definitive ways to asses the mines. It seems like all the words we want to use are vague or to subjective. The class is already winding to a close and I feel like it’s crunch time for getting stuff done. The one thing I like about what we did today was the fact that we had opportunities to make mistakes. Mistakes are such a great learning tool!
Today we collected some leaf specimens from the elm trees on campus. It took quite a bit of time to get our specimens and not all of the trees even had leafminer activity. But we wanted to be thorough and it took some time to check. Many of the trees had leafminer activity. Most of them looked like stigmella multispicata but we can’t immediately be sure. It will require a little more investigation to be certain. One tree looked like it was covered in warts. That one did have one leafmine. It started to storm which made things a little more difficult but my partner had waterproof paper. We photographed all the trees that had leafminer and also took individual photos of the branches and surrounding ten leaves. We did see a couple of things that looked like blotch mines too.
I am trying to come up with the specific aims for the research proposal and I can't think of too many. I guess the main point of this proposal is to see if we have evidence of S. multispicata host switching. If this leaf miiner were host switching, what might be the consequences of that happening? I feel like that is not enough to write, though. I am upset that we can't seem to find leafminer activity on any of the elm trees on campus other than the ones near where Dr. Brewer got off of the bus. But this might be helpful in our research as we can identify the loaction as one of the factors that could be causing the possible host switching. I supppose science frequently doesn't have a "correct" or clear cut answer. It is hard not knowing if you are "right" or "wrong". I guess the process of peer review helps you to better know if your thought process is correct, at least.
I feel like the need for the proposal is one of the most important parts. The whole point of writing a proposal is the attempt and effort to get the necessary funds to complete your research. I feel like we can use the lesson we learned on pathos, ethos, and logos when we assemble this proposal. I guess I just feel like we don't have a really clear strategy to put this all together. I feel like its so abstract. It is comforting to know that any class can be difficult. I have felt so challenged by some of my engineering classes but this is just as challenging to me. These ideas feel so hard to put into words and nail down. I am going to see if I can find a more flow charty type of template to organize this proposal. It feels too hard just trying to read about it without seeing a few actual examples. I have also tried to watch a couple of YouTube videos about this but I feel like the scope of what they did in the video went beyond what we needed to do.
I am trying to put together my proposal for the second writing assignment. It has been challenging. I am doing some reading from the book to get a better idea of what the whole scope of this assignment is. I think one thing that is important to relay in the background information is the fact that if these stigmalla multispicata are host switching it could cause a big problem because they don't have a ton of natural predators in this area.
We went out yesteday to see if we coiuld see evidence of leafminers on any of the elm trees on campus and none of us were able to find anything. We are due to go back out on Monday to see if we can go to some of the locations further than Merrill to find some. I think one of the things that confuses me about this project is the fact that we aren't specifically looking for this type of leafminer. I don't get what we are going to do with the data in regards to the other leafminer species that we find. I thought the point of this project was to find out why the leafminer track looked like a species that doesn't eat that kind of tree.
Today in class we crerated a comic and were limited to the 1,000 most common words. The subject matter was varied but all scientific. The point of the exercise was to use the 1,000 common words and pictures to explain the more complicated scientific topic. I liked this exercise because i feel like it is going to help me think along those terms more when I am learning complicated stuff. Maybe I can do this sort of thing when I am studying. I can rewrite what it is saying in the simplest terms possible. I encounter a lot of stuff in my classes that is complex and hard to wrap my mind around. It would be great t o have a new and improved study strategy.
The dog that is the most logical to save is the labrador retriever. Labrador retrievers make excellent service and hunting dogs. (AKC website) They are able to do search and rescue as well as drug and bomb detection. Even if they were the last breed left on Earth, handicapped people could still have help getting their needs met. Police officers would still be able to deploy them to find drugs and explosives and it would make the world a safer place. Labrador retrievers are also great family and companion dogs. Little children could still have their furry friends. It would be tragic to lose other dog breeds but saving the lab would make it a little less catastrophic.