Submitted by srabbitt on Mon, 08/05/2019 - 22:17

Today the grope got together to work on our research proposal. The research that we are doing is to verify the presence of Stigmella multispicata in the American Elms on the UMass campus. I feel that we got a lot done on our proposal today. We started with a basic outline that we had been writing in thoughts and facts that we found while studying leafminers and their unique characteristics. The work we did will still require a lot more polishing and refining but I was very happy with all the progress that we made today. Writing a research proposal is different than the manuscript that we just completed. The writing perspective is future tense rather the past tense so it is a lot like asking for permission to do something rather then telling a story about what you did. I am  a little apprehensive about presenting the proposal tomorrow because like any work that you do for the first time there is always the burning question "did I do this right?". Tomorrow we shall see if our groupe hit the mark. 

Draft - Impact

Submitted by rmegarry on Mon, 08/05/2019 - 18:00

Invasive pest species can cause the health of host plants decline and eventually result in the death of host plant (Bernardo 2015). It is important to track the ability of invasive species to infect new hosts in order to gain an understanding of any pest control measures that must be taken. Our study intends to provide data one such pest, and possible factors that may provide insight into the patterns by which these insects select their host. This information may prove useful to future researchers in determining the prevalence and threat these insects may pose to Ulmus genus in the future.



Submitted by srbuckley on Mon, 08/05/2019 - 11:48

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. 

Proposal Ideas

Submitted by srbuckley on Sun, 08/04/2019 - 23:05

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. 

The Siberian Elm's

Submitted by srabbitt on Sat, 08/03/2019 - 22:23

The studies that I have read about Stigmella multispicata have only been observed in siberian elms. So after class I drove up N Residential Drive to look at the 7 Siberian Elms that are growing there. I inspected each of the seven trees looking for linear mines in the leaves; this is the type of mine  S. multispicata has been reported to leave. After a thorough search I am confident that there is no evidence of leafminer activity on any of the seven siberian elm trees at that location. So this is leaving me with the question “where did the leafminer suspected of being S. multispicata originate from?

Perfect Research Design

Submitted by rmegarry on Sat, 08/03/2019 - 18:54

Approach and Analysis: This experiment aims to sample leaves from every available Elm on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus. There are currently 293 Elms on campus, and 16 unique species. Two of each Elm species, to be chosen in a manner that allows them to be as far apart as possible, will be searched for evidence of leaf miners by observing an accessible branch of the tree. The branch will searched for leaf miners on the last foot of the branch. All observed leaf miners will be removed from the infected tree. The leaves will be kept in a bag marked with the specific identification of the tree.

The Week

Submitted by srabbitt on Fri, 08/02/2019 - 21:15

Abstract (Outline)

Background Info:

  • Leafminers are an invasive that can damage commercial crops 

  • More from Europe then Asia in North America

  • Ornamental trees with leafmines are not aesthetically pleasing

  • Poorly studied

  • S. multispicata only recently described (2014)

Statement of need

  • Not much information on S. multispicata 

  • How many species of elm have this leafminer infected

Proposal objective

  • Document S. multispicata feeding on elm's other than Siberian

  • Add to the scientific community's knowledge base about this invasive

General Strategy

  • Randomly select Elm trees to sample based on location and species

  • ID Leaf miner activity (on tree and surrounding vegetation)

  • Collect samples (Infected or not)

  • Determine the species of leafminer 

  • Correlation?


  • Our research may add to the data on this species of leafminer

  • is this species becoming a generalist ( not feeding/breading on specific species)


Submitted by srbuckley on Fri, 08/02/2019 - 16:28

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.

Trial Run

Submitted by srabbitt on Thu, 08/01/2019 - 22:15

The last hour of todays class was spent inspecting vairous species of elm trees for the presence of mines. We are peticularly interested in finding Stigmella multispicata  mines. The elm's with the most mines are the ones behind Morrell II. No leafminer activity was observed by myself, Stefanie, or Ivan in any of the trees west of Morrell. We did however, see a lot of the resistant american elm with galls on the leaves. Seeing all of these galls I wonder if they are feeding on the leafminers?? 

After class I drove up N Residential Drive to look at the 7 Siberian Elms. I Did not spend a bunch of time there but I did look closley at the leaves and once again there was no activity to be seen. THis is odd. I am begining to wonder if there is something in the area of the Morrell building that is attracting these moths. That is something that is out of the scope of this class. This is were we learn to write about these things, not actually research them. From what I have read about these studies they have ocured over a much longer period of time then this class would have time for. 


Submitted by srabbitt on Wed, 07/31/2019 - 23:33

      Working with an outline certainly has an advantage. I have never created my own before so knowing exactly what to put in will still be challenging.  The problem that I face is staring at the screen trying to think of something to write. I'm thinking that possibly I could just put some words down to start then fill it in as I can figure it out. Writing has never been a strong subject for me, I just sort of fumble around and try to make things fit. This last writing project was extremely challenging. This is not my only writing challenge, creating the bibliography or reference list in next on the list.

       I have made many reference lists, bibliographies, and annotated bibliographies but I still need to learn how to use a citation tool for my reference list. I have watched people do them, and been shown different tools but nothing seems to stick. Just this evening I found an interesting article and I attempted to put it on the class biblio page but I could not find were to copy and paste the DOI number.  Once again I will need further instruction on this. Once I learn it this time I will be sure not to forget it, this will save me so much time with papers in the future. 


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