For the past three weeks Lauren has been looking in to the stereoscope at many adelgids from each branch, looking to see if they are alive or dead. The results were not very positive, for a different reason than we weren’t expecting. Yes most of the adelgid that was checked were dead but there were way too many variables playing into why they were dead such as; the antibiotic worked in killing them, most of the vials liquid went below where the branch end could reach, or because almost all the vials had some form of bacteria or fungi in them. This realization kind of put a bruise in our project but it sets us up well for future projects.
It has been over three weeks now so on the just passed Monday and Tuesday, Ally and I looked at our trial one set of vials. As expected, all the adelgid we checked on the branch from the Imodacloprid vial were dead, and all the adelgid on the negative control vial were still alive and the branch looked healthy as if we had just picked it. Where as the Imodacloprid branch seemed to be dying. As for our other vials, the results were not what we expected or hoped they would be but we are still thinking positive about them. They were in between positive and negative results.
This week Ally and I have been working with our antibiotics. On Monday (and Friday) we made our stock solutions for the antibiotics, the stock solutions are distilled water and 20ml of our antibiotics mixed together and dissolved by the vortexer. The first one we did was the Rifampicin, and it was an….. interesting go-around. Why you may ask? Because. Because, originally we were going to dissolve 20ml of the Rifampicin into 10ml of distilled water but it wouldn’t dissolve. So we put the solution into a bigger jar and added 40ml of water making it 50ml of water, but it still didn’t dissolve completely. Then we added 10ml more of water, didn’t work, then we added 15ml more and it finally dissolved making the solution with 75ml of water. And today, we sterilized our solutions, sucking each one up then running it through a small filter into a new tube. We relabeled each one and put them in the fridge. Now all we need are some hemlock branches with adelgid on them and we are set to rock and roll.
Ally and Lauren’s project is testing Hemlock Woolly Adelgids reaction to different antibiotics. We will stick the branches in 6 vials with a different solution in each one, 4 of them having a different antibiotic, another with imidacloprid and one a control with just sucrose. And the waiting game begins. Today we have finalized our plan as to what we are going to do these next few weeks. We hope to make our vials next Friday. We will have a three hour window to do this in. Ally plans to go and collect Hemlock branches early that day and then begin setting up our vials that afternoon. But for now, we are waiting on our antibiotics to come in from Sigma. Hopefully two are going to come in tomorrow and the other two later this week.
The TIME program would not be what it is today without our awesome scientist and community volunteers! Topping the list? Dr. Kent Wilcox, retired microbiology professor. Wilcox has been an integral part of the TIME program since it began in 2007. Acting as student mentor, science consultant and overall program advisor, Wilcox is FUNdamental to program success. Whether working with students to brainstorm project ideas, assess feasibility, develop protocols, or challenge assertions, Wilcox adds both inspiration and rigor. In the photos you see Allie, Hannah, Ingrid and Dr. Wilcox explore hemlock branches for signs of the hemlock woolly adelgid.