Going into my first week of internship at OSU, I didn't know what to expect. I wasn't sure if I was going to wash petri dishes or cleaning aquariums. However, I was pleasantly surprised that Dr. Dabrowski, professor of environmental science, had planned for me to do research. To assist me, he found articles that would benefit me and my research.
I found that these articles were extremely useful, and they helped me understand the background of my upcoming research: studying the effect of triploidy on zebra fish fertility.
My first three days of research were very similar. For the first two hours, I would observe 3 groups fish mate and write down each observation as well as the time it took place. After the fish stopped showing mating behaviors, I would spend the next hour cleaning fish tanks around the lab. This hour was necessary to allow the eggs produced by the fish to fertilize. After the eggs were given sufficient time, I would examine the eggs of each aquarium and calculate the number of fertilized and unfertilized eggs, as well as record the length and weight of the male. It would take up to two hours to get an accurate record of the eggs and fish characteristics. Lastly, I would once again use the microscope to observe the eggs from the previous day and record the amount of eggs that survived the first 24 hours.
The other days did not have a consistent theme. Sometimes, I would begin my day by preparing food for the zebra fish and zoo-plankton. On Thursday I started my first "in vitro fertilization", which means that instead of having two fish mate and produce eggs (in vivo fertilization), the sperm and egg were collected and fertilized outside of the body. I also recorded the the male weight and length, as well as the fertilization count and the 24 hour survival.
I also helped with other projects in the lab. On Friday, I helped a nutrition experiment, in which the fish were given different types and combinations of food to see which tank would show the most optimal growth. My mentor Thomas Delomas and I recorded the weight and length of all the fish in the tank. The results of the experiment would be most accurate if each fish tank had the same amount of fish, so we also counted all the fish and transferred the "extra" fish to spare tanks in the greenhouse.
My first week was very stressful, but my I gradually became less nervous as the week progressed. Once I got over my nerves, the research became very enjoyable. I wonder what Week 2 has in store for me.Time to read more articles on zebra fish!