24 November, 1996
Journal November 24, 1996
Tonight Bill, Pat, and I met to discuss things I would be doing after he left. There seem to be five projects that I'll be responsible for. As I think about them they will take a lot longer than six weeks, however there all interesting to me and I don't mind having lots of things to do. I do want to get into a regular exercise routine again, it would be too easy to spend all of my time around the lab. The project that I'm most interested in is determining if the compound pteronone in Clione functions as a natural sun block. That means capturing animals, controlling the amount of UV they are exposed to and determining if there is a correlation with the amount of pteronone in their bodies. Sounds simple enough but the pteronone must be identified, extracted, and its concentration determined.
All the sponge samples that have been collected in the past two months need to be freeze dried, although that is a reasonably simple task, it will be time consuming.
Bill has observed that there are a number of tarpons in a parcticular sponge that are not involved in the primary metabolism of the animal. He suspects that they may have some defensive role but doesn't know what it is. To try to determine its role, the concentration in the organism will initially be measured, the organism will then be stressed to see if different concentrations can be induced. This requires a method for experimentally measuring concentrations of the tarpons. I need to first extract pure compounds, determine their concentrations and relate the concentration to a response on a detector. Bill says I should be able to finish that project in about three days. That might work if I had three days with no distractions, and all the equipment that I'm using for the first time magically did what I wanted it to do. I don't believe in magic. The fourth project is also an interesting one. Bill seems to feel I have little chance of successfully completing it. We have found that a sponge we've collected, latronculia is microbially active. Two of the compounds that are active have been isolated and identified. Bill seems to think there are more that can be extracted. I would like to be able to isolate one of them even though I have no way of identifying it.
The last project will get me out of the lab on collecting trips. Bill noticed a number of melt water ponds when we were doing our helicopter reconnaissance for dive sites. These ponds have algal mats that need to be collected and assayed for microbial activity. The mats can't be collected until there is some melting. That will require mapping the location of the sites and then going back to them later in the season. They are in very remote locations which would require being helicoptered in, and left to do collecting. This will be a good opportunity to use my winter camping skills.
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