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A Day of Celebration

01/30/2011, 12:00 AM by Lollie Garay
New Friendships Over Dinner<br/><br/>Credit: Marc Fischer
New Friendships Over Dinner
Photo Credit: Marc Fischer

Jan 27

Temp: -22F

Today was spent finishing the sample processing from yesterday's fieldwork. PI Marc Fischer (SKIO) describes his work.

"One of the primary goals of our work is to understand the underlying mechanisms that allow bacteria to adapt and respond to a changing environment, particularly to changes in the nutrients available to them. To do this one of the things we're looking at is the genetic expression of important genes involved in nutrient assimilation. To get at those questions we need to look at their messenger RNA (mRNA), but because mRNA is typically very unstable, this is not an easy task.

To put some perspective on the problem, a typical mRNA molecule, if left alone, will degrade in seconds. Much of the challenge for us during these studies is to get the bacterial mRNA stabilized so that we can analyze it. "

Marc is also blogging on his SKIO website. Be sure to check that out too at: http://oceanscience.wordpress.com/

Marc, Zac, and I began a list of things to do earlier in the week. One of those was to track the sunrise to observe the changes in the length of the day. According to Marc, the sun rose 43 minutes earlier today than on Jan 24 and was up for 1 hr. 8 min. We're taking daily photos and hope to post those before we leave!

This evening we were invited to the home of Peggy Cowan, Superintendent of the North Slope Borough School District. She and Marc have a mutual friend in Georgia where Peggy once lived and worked. Several science teachers and other educators were also invited, including Deb Greene, the middle school teacher I have been "talking" to through email. It was a very nice evening of dialogue that I hope will lead to establishing collaboration between Barrow, Houston, and Georgia schools on a coastal science project!

When we returned to the hut, my roomies had decorated a festive table complete with a fresh-baked chocolate cake. It was a Happy Birthday to me that was enjoyed by all!

(And a Happy Birthday to my husband Rey who's birthday is also today!!)

By the way, intermittent internet service has caused a backlog of blogs, thanks for your patience!

Tomorrow is another day on the ice!


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