The past weeks have been very busy as we work steadily to process all the plants we have collected. Last time I updated you all we were identifying the plants. After a few weeks of that, Adrienne and I had sorted (most of) the plants to species. However, there were then hundreds (literally) of bags of plants that we identified that had to be weighed on an analytic balance and it has taken weeks to get through. Luckily I got some help from the college first student working with me, Raymond, who has been patiently spending hours with me weighing bag after bag of dried plants. Though that may sound pretty tedious, we manage to converse or listen to music or podcasts and that makes the time go pretty quickly.
We are nearly done with all the weighing, which is pretty exciting. While doing all of that, we have also been going out occasionally to collect bags from seed traps, which basically get us a sample of the seeds that blow into our plots. This gives us so a sense of what species are trying to get into the plots. Next we have to sort through these seed bags, cleaning off dirt and (hopefully) dead insects. Then we have to count them all, and I have a feeling that is also going to take quite a bit of time. We're getting there though.
There has also been a bunch of other stuff going on. I have been working with Raymond on his project, going to journal club to discuss papers with some other REUs and some grad students, and trying to work on my poster and video. There is also a ton to do in the city between 5K runs, museums, music and fireworks. In short, I am keeping happily busy and I am excited to see what our data look like. There is still a lot of work to do before we get there though.