Gibberish but it shall come together

Submitted by srbuckley on Mon, 07/22/2019 - 18:53

During the spring and summer months new life begins all around us. Birds are singing, flowers blooming and trees produce new foliage. This foliage can serve as a host to new life. One such lifeform is the leafminer. These insect larvae survive by burrowing within the leaf feeding on mesophyll. Leafminers are known to leave distinguishing marks on the host leaf. These brown tracks make it easier for people to find where there has been leafminer activity. I wanted to see how easy it might be to have someone create a multipanel figure showing that they had found tracks from a leafminer.


Goals of METHODS project:


To recreate a multipanel figure of a leaf that has been eaten by a leafminer

Have someone reconstruct what you did to recreate that multipanel figure and create a similar image

Find the differences between the two images and speculate on what caused them

Write a scientific report (probably leave this part out.


Brief overview of subject selected. Explain what it is. 


The subject is a leaf that has been molested by leafminer activity. My thinking behind selecting it was that there weren’t a ton of other specimens around. The factors I sought to control in writing my methods were the size and location of the photos, the spacing between the photos, drawing the eye to certain aspects of the multipanel figure with arrows and labeling with letters. 

The factors I considered in trying to facilitate the recreation were the location of the specimen, the appearance of the plant. The number and focus of the photos that are to be taken.


Draft - ~80% of Discussion

Submitted by rmegarry on Mon, 07/22/2019 - 14:15

Discussion Drafting

    The replicate figure was an interesting blend of similarity and differences. It appeared that while specificity was important, the careful construction and preservation of the experiment, and experimental area, was far more important. 

The most detailed section of the methods was creation of the overall figure, and very specific elements of certain panels. The figure was recreated in a similar manner with three minor differences, however, the differences were largely caused by an error in documentation rather than the interpretation of the reader. While the lettering boxes were smaller, with smaller lettering, the size of the lettering was incorrectly specified at 25% of the original value. The boxes are much smaller, however, it is likely that either one box was used and quartered, which would be consistent with the letter size change and still look pleasing aesthetically, or that a different unit was used. 

The most notable change in the recreation is the health of the plant, and the background of the experimental area. The weed was located in the center of a loosely coiled garden hose. The hose was likely dragged to whatever location it was used in, and was likely pulled over the weed. This destroyed the integrity of the weed changing elements such as the neighboring uninfected leaves, the color of the weed as it lay dying, and total viewing area of the weed which originally obscured the environment behind it. As the photographs are the main component of the figure, the destruction of the experimental area caused differences over a much larger area of the total figure.

Most other differences were likely caused by issues with specificity and clarity of the directions. In panel A the parts of the hand that were specified were close to the positions in the original photo. The ring and pinky finger were not specified, and were not close to the original position in the photo, as well as how much of the hand was present and what angle it was at. In panel C the frame of the photo has shifted slightly, which was likely due not specifying only the edge of the reference card was visible. This shifted the photo to allow the full view of the card. The hand is also under the card as opposed to gripping the edge. This is caused by an unforeseen interpretation of how to keep the hand out of the photo. 

The large contributing factor was likely due to the difference in equipment available. I had not given much thought to the equipment used to take the photo, or the objects used in the photos. Some compositional errors may have occurred due to the differences in the camera’s used. If the photos were not taken or imported with the same dimensions and resolution, then compression, stretching, or other quality issues may have occurred. This is most notable with panel D, as the map used had to be stretched in the original, but appears to have been fine for use in the replicate.



Submitted by srabbitt on Sun, 07/21/2019 - 22:22

This was a study about the importance of effective writing in the scientific community. This research was conducted to see if I could write a methods section that someone else could follow and replicate a multi panel figure that I had created. This was done by using only the written portion of a methods paragraph. The person attempting to recreate the figure had not previously seen the original figure. The replicate figure done in this study had many differences due to details that were left out in the description of the figure design. Although the figures had many differences the overall design was similar and leafminer activity was evident

Over thinker

Submitted by srbuckley on Sun, 07/21/2019 - 20:11

I am struggling with over thinking the draft of my paper. I am finding it difficult to use words to start the sentences. It looks redundant and boring to start each sentence with "I". I want to remember that this is not a list of instructions but just me recording the process I undertook to get my particular results. I am finding it hard to quite understand all the points that the book makes about how a great scientific paper is created. I am usually pretty verbose in my writing. I feel like writing is kind of like painting a pretty picture with words so this is much different to me. I am also trying to avoid using extra scientific or intelligent sounding words. I want so badly to say "utilize" rather than "use". I guess perhaps I feel like my content isn't 'sciencie' enough. I kind of relate these methods to what I learned in a class years ago in elementary school about good journalism. That you simply report your findings and leave all the other shit out of it. Science has been more zen than I ever anticipated. Just observe and report, Stefanie. 

Draft - Discussion paragraph 2

Submitted by rmegarry on Sun, 07/21/2019 - 18:28

The rest of the differences are located in the corresponding panels. All panels in the replicate are where they were intended to be, and as a result all panels correspond to their labels. In panel A much more of the hand holding the plant is visible, as well as the thumb, ring finger, and pinky being in different positions. The photo for panel A is taken at a different angle, shows more of the surrounding, and includes the wall of the building. The photo for panel B also shows more of the surrounding area, and the wall is positioned diagonally through the corner of the photo as opposed to straight. Panel C showcases a card of different color and size, and its entirety can be seen in the photo. The weed is much darker, and the galleries are also much more visible. The position of the leaf is also shifted to the right side of the photo. The map used for panel D is at much less of a magnification, allowing more of the area to be seen, and is not as stretched.

Looking Deeper

Submitted by srabbitt on Sat, 07/20/2019 - 22:44

The separation of results and discussion has proven to be confusing for me. I have had to change my way of looking at things. Scanning a image for differences is much different scientifically then it is for a challenging puzzle. Learning these things is has been a bit challenging. This has me trying to retrain myself on how I see and interpret things. An example of how my thought process needs to change it regarding the images of plants in the methods experiment. I said that plants are different thinking that it was a fact when I needed to describe how the plants are different. So rather then a general all encompassing statement about an object I need to pull out specific details about what is different. Thankfully I have received a lot of assistance from my fellow students and the course instructors in point theses things out. Throughout my adult life I have worked on getting things done as fast as possible. Blasting through things quickly and effeicently was always a source of pride for me. Now I see that I most likely missed a lot of details in the process. 

Perfected Orientation

Submitted by rmegarry on Sat, 07/20/2019 - 19:57

My experience at orientation was frightening. I spent the day accompanied by my two friends, Sage and Rebecca, and stayed with their orientation for the college of natural sciences. I did not expect the tour or material to be different by any noticeable margin. We started by attending all of the welcoming presentations before the tour. The fact I was not with my group did not impact the value of the tour, as mostly the same areas were presented to the groups.  I had escorted the both of them to Whitmore in order to get their UCard’s made without having to wait in line, but after I had escortted them to their scheduling appointments, the true terror of my orientation began.

* This reads alot more like a story, I tried to force it into a more scientific sounding narrative but in the end its still a story. I "perfected" most of my other drafts so I felt like I only really had this to perfect for this week


Submitted by srabbitt on Fri, 07/19/2019 - 21:51

      The study of leaf miner activity conducted was on a brassicaceous plant called a nasturtium (Tropaeolum). A common leaf miner found on these plants are the larvae of the syn. S. apicalis Hardy. The female lays eggs on the leaf and once it hatches it burrows into the layers of the leaf and consumes the mesophyll of the host leaf. Sometimes the leaf is killed, but the rest of the plans is often unaffected. Once the larvae have matured it exits the leaf by chewing itself free and drops to the ground where it pupates it to an adult. They have several generations per year from April to September.

Draft - Full Intro

Submitted by rmegarry on Fri, 07/19/2019 - 20:51

Scientific writing requires a certain level of specificity in order to be properly understood and replicated. Science has maintained that in order for a study to be valid, the work must be able to be replicated with the same results. This facet of scientific research puts an incredible amount of importance on the record of how the research in any paper was performed.What factors affect the reproducibility of an experiment? There are many opportunities to document an experiment in a way that it is not reproducible. In order to ensure that an experiment can be repeated, how many factors need to be controlled? As I sought to answer this question I hypothesized that it was most likely an issue of specificity. If a task was detailed explicitly then it would be unlikely to produce different results. The experiment presented was to create a complex multi-panel figure, create the methods, allow for the procedure to be replicated, and to observe the results. In order to gauge the importance of differing factors, certain parts of the figure were carefully controlled and highly detailed, while others were sloppily performed and not nearly as detailed.


Perfect Differences (Overall)

Submitted by rmegarry on Thu, 07/18/2019 - 22:57

Differences listed as being in the overall figure are those that occur in multiple panels or the overall composition of the figure. Differences present across the panels include: every arrow having a much larger head that obscures the length of the arrow, every arrows being shorter in length, the removal of most of the garden hose, the presence of an orange covering on the hose, and there is a decline in the health of the infected plant. The differences present in the composition include: smaller backround boxes in the corners of each panel, proportionately smaller letters in each of those boxes, the space between panels is approximately doubled, and the color of the spacing is set to be transparent instead of white.

*Differences is defined in a previous paragraph as "anything in the replicate that is not present, displayed in an alternate manner, or is an element that is missing from the original figure" and so everything listed can be assumed to be about the replicate figure.


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