Introduction to the Keck Lab

My summer research was centered in the Keck Lab and my first day was May 29th. My official project involved collecting Palaemonetes Pugio (grass shrimp) from various sites in Norfolk and Gloucester on the York, Lafayette, and Elizabeth Rivers. I would bring those samples back to the lab where I would compile data. However the field trips for data collection were not scheduled to begin until mid June, so I spent the first few weeks of the summer researching my topic, learning methodology, gathering materials, and helping with other projects around the Keck lab. Dr. Chambers, Adrianna Gorsky, other Keck students and I went on several field trips during these first few weeks to practice sampling and explore the types of environments we would encounter later in the summer. It was during these excursions that we first collected a few samples of shrimp. After brining them back to Keck, I became familiar with their anatomy and learned how to identify their species and sex, measure them properly, view them under a dissecting microscope and extract eggs from the gravid females. This practice helped me develop a thorough method to tackle the difficult task of counting upwards of 300 microscopic eggs per one single shrimp. In addition to this hands on practice, I read several scientific papers, including Dr. Chambers’ thesis, which helped me understand the preexisting body of research including certain things I should be looking for and types of results or trends I might see. These introductory weeks spent practicing and getting familiar with the research were very valuable and allowed me to proceed efficiently when our site trips formally began in mid June.

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