Tuesday, September 20, 2016

   Dr.Pincelli Hull helped me learn so much about the field of geology that I did not about until I arrived at the internship. She and Jana were so excited and proud of their work that it got me so excited to learn so much about the difference possibilities that a geology degree can give you. A few things that I learned through this internship is how the Ph.d programs work, which was super helpful because I knew very little about how it worked. I also learned so much about foraminifera: I learned that their shells our made up of calcium carbonate and high ph levels can make their thin and weak. Also they can eat shrimp by sticking on to them and using their stomach acid to melt the tough parts of the shrimp shell to make it easier for the foraminifera to digest it. I learned a lot of about how it feels like to work in a lab, which is super important because I needed to learn whether or not I liked working in a lab. I am beyond grateful for this experience and really glad I did it. I learned a lot of cool things about Earth sciences like I could study foraminifera, volcanoes, earthquakes, etc while also gaining lab experiences. I learned that sometimes I did not like sitting in the lab for hours and not talk to someone; I for one like to work and talk for a bit. However it was a great experience and I would do it over again. One of my favorite parts is when we made the geological time scale on a roll of toilet paper, that was so much fun and we learned that humans actually make such a small portion of the time scale. My other favorite was actually arranging slides. It was peaceful and it was a bit challenging to find all the right foraminifera and then gluing it onto a slide but it was fun to arrange them in cool patterns on the slides

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Homework 7/31

Pre-washing your sample:

  • Make sure balance is level
  • Weigh the beaker to find the weight before you put the sample in
  • Start to fill in the chart with all important information (Ex: Date, beaker #, weight of beaker, sample number)
  • Put sediment in beaker but leave a thumb sized amount in the bag in case other researchers need to use it later
  • Use bag sealer to reseal the bag
  • Weigh sample in the beaker
  • Finish filling in the previously mentioned chart with the weight of the sample in the beaker
Bottling your sample:

  • Prep 2 glass sample vials.
  • Label each with sample ID and size fraction ?(i.e. >63 um) on the side of the vial
  • Put ID on lid
  • Label one vial "F" (for faunel testing) with dot label
  • Label other vial "I" (isotope testing) with dot label
  • Check to see if the balance is level (bubble at the back should be centered)
  • Check to see if the splitter and brushes you're going to use are clean
  • If not clean, remove any debris with brush
  • Weigh a clean copper transfer boat and record the mass
  • Carefully transfer the sample from the filter paper into clean copper transfer boat
  • Weigh the mass of a sample from the lab balance
  • Record "dry weight" in the lab binder and in excel spreadsheet
  • Split the dry sample using the splitter and put one section into vial "F" and the other section in vial "I"
  • Store vials in a labelled box
  • Clean off splitter and brushes between sample, every few samples compressed air in the wet lab can be used to ensure the splitter is completely clean

Larger forams have a larger percent of pore area. Our sub-tropical data may have been altered because we only had 2 sets of data from there as opposed to 3 like the tropical and sub-polar samples.

We've learned a lot from our research. For example, forams there are many different species of forams and depending on where they live, they may have different structures and react to temperature differently. Forams that live in tropical climates may have larger pores than ones that live in sub-polar regions because they may be larger and can move more gas around. Forams from tropical regions also seem to have thicker walls than forams from sub-polar regions.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dear Jana,
       Thank you for mentoring us all summer. I would like to thank you for being so inspirational. You have taught that I can excel at anything that I set my mind too and that even if I start I can still succeed.  Thank you for having the patience to teach me this summer. I have learned so much about foraminifera and how important they are to science and to our future. I loved how passionate you are about you do and you are so proud of it. I feel extremely grateful to have had you as a teacher this summer! You are an excellent teacher and I wish you all the best.


Gabriela Villanueva

Dear Dr. Pincelli Hull,
               Thank you for allowing us to work in your lab for most of the summer and for trusting us in your lab. I have learned so much from the short time with you. I loved learning from you! You were so enthusiastic when you were teaching us, and I loved that you were so happy to teach us about you love doing. Thank you for an amazing summer.


Gabriela Villanueva

Friday, August 5, 2016

Conclusion and Revised Procedure

Revised Mounting Specimens Procedure:

#1: Clear the surrounding work area. If needed, place paper towels on the table to prevent any disorder.

#2: Don a lab coat, latex gloves, and safety goggles to protect body from harmful antigen residue on specimens

#3: Gather the correct materials to mount a plant specimen. One will need a small paint brush, a bottle of archival glue, and an ample supply of paper straps

#4: Place a piece of cardboard on the table. Next, take one sheet of bristol board paper and position it on top of the cardboard

#5: Delicately grasp the newspaper holding the plant specimen and place it carefully onto the table

#6: Open the newspaper to reveal the plant specimen

#7: Take the paper label accompanied with the specimen and firmly paste it on the bottom right side of the bristol board.

#8: Fold a fragment packet to glue on the paper. This will house any loose pieces from the specimen.

#9: Cautiously lift the specimen and lay it on the paper

#11: Use a pair of tweezers to place the paper strips over the specimen. These will be used to fasten the plant on the paper.

#12: Next, place the mounted plant and the cardboard on the shelf.

#13: Cover the mounted specimen with a piece of wax paper.

#14: Set washers onto the paper to prevent any bends or folds.

#15: Repeat steps 4 through 16 when mounting another plant specimen.


 The digitization of the specimens collected by Dr. Sweeney's Laboratory is an ongoing project. During the summer of 2016, my colleagues and I assisted the laboratory's staff by mounting and documenting plant specimens. The collaborative efforts of my group allowed the lab to further their goal.

Washing samples:

  1. Put on a lab coat to avoid getting clothing fibers in the sample and safety glasses to protect your eyes from forams
  2. Get a 63 micrometers sieve and place it in the sink.
  3. Pour the wet sample that is in the beaker in the sieve that is in the sink.
  4. If part of the sample remains in the beaker use the nozzle with a gentle spray of deionized water , that is strong enough to remove the sample but not too strong enough that the sample will go everywhere.
  5. To test the strength of the nozzle, turn it on AWAY from the sample and test on your hand, it feels too strong then turn it down until it feels gentle enough almost like a slight tickle.
  6. Using the nozzle wash the sample in the sieve for thirty minutes.
  7. While washing move the nozzle slowly in circular or up and down motion to break up the clay clumps.
  8. To test if the sample is clean after thirty minutes place the beaker under the sieve and let the water fill the beaker.
  9. If the water is really cloudy add another fifteen minutes, and if it is still cloudy after that then it needs to be placed in the dry oven.
  10. To remove the sample from the sieve, place a circle piece of filter paper in a funnel and put it in the same beaker you used in the beginning.
  11. Using a spray bottle with Deionized water to gently remove the sample from the sieve into the filter paper.
  12. After that is done, place the sample in the dry oven over night.
  13. Clean sink, station, and place sieve in sieve washer.

Every foram has different pores sizes and measurements. Many forams that come from the same species have similar pore shapes, pore size, and pore spacing. But within different species they are smaller or larger, more spaced out or closely put together. Even the slightest change in acidity can make foram shells very thinner and weak. How foram shells look and how much calcium carbonate are in the shells can tell us how the climate and the acidity of the oceans millions of years of ago.

          Forams can tell us so much about the climate millions of years of ago and how acidic the ocean was. It is very important to know this information because it can tell us at what rate coral reefs will continue to bleach and how the levels of carbon are going up. Which contributes to global warning. 

IF - Weekly Homework 7/31

Discussion/Going Further 

Like any scientific project, this one is no exception and is still ongoing. Through our 6 week internship with Dr. Patrick Sweeney, we were exposed to a non-stereotypical internship and experienced a different kind of internship with collection management. With the collaborative effort of myself and my peers, we were able to mount, data input, catalogue, and image specimens at a greater production rate with our versatility being able to decide which task to do. This in turn allowed the more experienced and older lab members to do tasks that we weren't qualified to do since we were filling up the tasks they would've originally did. After the internship ends, the lab will continue their efforts in digitizing the Peabody's Botany Collection as well as other institutions that don't have such equipment such as University of Rhode Island, University of Vermont, etc. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Revised Introduction and Procedures

Revised Introduction:

A research collection, known also as a collection library, provides a depiction of the past that can assist scientists and researchers by making discoveries in a particular field accessible for academic study. Further, the gathering of information on specimens and artifacts can be used by individuals in a field for comparison purposes as well as to provide a record of the names and classification of the items that comprise the collection.

During the summer of 2016, our team interned at a Botany lab led by Dr. Patrick Sweeney located within the Yale University Environmental Science Center. The specimens of the Yale Herbarium are from all over the world and include ferns, bryophyes, and grasses. Under the supervision of Dr. Sweeney, we were tasked with assisting the laboratory in their effort to catalog the Science Center's extensive collection of plant specimens with the digitization of these specimens funded by the National Science Foundation. In service as catalogers we were tasked with preserving specimens by mounting them on bristol board, taking digital photographs, providing stage one processing by including the dates the specimens were found as well as the municipalities of where each of the specimens were collected from, and filing the plant specimens into their specified cabinets.

Mounting Specimens Procedure:

#1: Don a lab coat, latex gloves, and safety goggles to protect the body from any harmful antigen residue on specimens

#2: Clean surrounding work area. If needed, place paper towels down to prevent any disarray

#3: Gather the correct materials to mount a plant specimen. One will need a small paint brush, a bottle of archival grade glue, and an ample supply of paper straps

#4: Take a piece of thin cardboard and place it onto the table. Then place one piece of bristol board paper and put it on top of the cardboard

#5: Delicately grasp the newspaper holding the plant specimen and place it carefully onto the table

#6: Open the newspaper it reveal the plant specimen

#7: Take the paper label and glue it onto the bottom right side of the bristol board.

#8: Fold a fragment pack and glue it onto paper to house loose pieces from specimen.

#9: Delicately place the specimen onto the paper. Make sure that at least one leaf is facing upside down.

#10: Take a paper strap and smear the bottom with archival glue.

#11: Use a pair of tweezers to delicately place the straps over the specimen to keep it in place. Make sure the plant is firmly flat on the paper.

#12: When finished take the mounted plant and the cardboard and place it on the shelf.

#13: Take a piece of wax paper and carefully lay it on top of the plant specimen.

#14: Place washers onto the specimen to prevent any bends or folds of the paper.

#15: Repeat steps 4 through 16 when mounting another plant specimen.