It's already week 10 (the last week) of my fifth term at OIMB, which means I am solidly in year two. Yikes. Of course I'll never have done all that I've wanted to do, but working on my thesis proposal has helped me see that I've certainly made some progress:
1) I've found all my eelgrass & critters! There are several eelgrass (Zostera marina) beds in the area, full of isopods (Pentidotea resecata), amphipods (Ampithoe lacertosa, maybe some A. valida?), snails (Lacuna sp.), and sea hares (Phyllaplysia taylori). (This isn't something particularly difficult or noteworthy, but it's exciting because I CAN ACTUALLY DO MY SCIENCE).
Ampithoe lacertosa, an herbivorous amphipod I'll definitely use for my research.
2) I've produced nine laby isolates (Labyrinthula zosterae, my pathogen of interest)! (My colleagues know this is actually pretty easy, but it's nice to have lots of options.)
3) I've found that all nine laby isolates can grow on media made from eelgrass juice! I've also started an experiment to figure out which of my isolates are most virulent (looks like V20 is the one) and to see what fatty acids the laby produce when growing on our typical serum seawater agar, eelgrass media, and eelgrass segments.
4) I've identified Tisbe sp. copepods, which is the first time I've keyed out a harpacticoid copepod (it's not easy, let me tell you). I'm calling them Tisbe cf. furcata for now based on keys and species descriptions.
5) I've been maintaining the Tisbe in the lab for several months now, and it looks like I have a good set up for when I do my experiments with them!
So all in all, I haven't gotten much data per se, but I've been able to get a lot of the groundwork done which will streamline my planned studies. Let's see how much more I can get done before the holidays!