(Originally posted on our 2011 Field Blog — by Nicole Freidenfelds)
Wow – we’ve been on this research trip for over eight weeks! Time sure flies.
My apologies for not posting a new blog in a while – things have been pretty busy…
Sean and I went on a whirlwind trip collecting blood samples from lizards at six different sites in Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Shortly after getting back, I left for a quick trip home, and Sean went back to Auburn to defend his dissertation. Congratulations, Dr. Graham!
Meanwhile, Chris presented his research at the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologistsin Minneapolis by giving a talk entitled: Phylogeography and Invasive Spread of Two Cuban Anurans in the Southeastern United States.
Alex successfully held down the fort while the rest of us were gone. And although lonely and suffering from a bit of cabin fever, he took excellent care of the lizards in our absence.
In the next few weeks Sean and I (and Gail, once she arrives) will be collecting more blood samples from wild lizards to test their immune response. While in the field, we use Sean’s homemade centrifuge (photo below), comprised of a flexible tripod (my addition) duct-taped to a battery-operated personal fan, to spin down the blood samples. Our microcentrifuge tubes conveniently fit in the hand-crafted wire holders attached to each fan blade. It’s a true work of art.
We will be measuring initial (baseline) and secondary immune response of lizards to sheep red blood cells. This sounds a bit strange, but is a common ecoimmunology protocol.
All these blood samples mean lots of time in the “lab” running assays and such. I’m going to be an expert-level pipettor by the time this summer is over…