Week 6 More data to analyze and the Bonneville Dam trip!
This week, I've started to analyze the data I've gradually collect in the last 5 weeks. Analyzing all the 2011 DNA sequences I've collected so far and aligning these extremely large DNA sequences are a lot of work. After all the alignments and continuously making phylogenetic trees, I have finally gotten some prelimary results.
Last week, we have identified a DNA sequence that seems to belong to an extremely toxic dinoflagellate, Pfiesteria. It seems that during the bloom formation in Iwaco Harbor (in Baker Bay), the high nutrient levels of the Iwaco Harbor seems to be the main reason why it can harbor an extremely toxic dinoflagellate sepcies. We have also noticed that only in Iwaco Harbor, a specific species that is still unknown and uncultured seems to be very abundant during bloom formation. This phenomena has also been noticed from the past year 2010 too. I won't be around at CMOP during bloom formation, which is usually early September to late September. Though, I am really excited to be back during the school year to analyze the 2012 bloom formation samples. I'm looking forward to find more of this specific unknown/uncultured dinoflagellate species. If we are able to identify this unknown species once gain in the Iwaco Harbor bloom this year, we can confidently make some conclusions and hopefully be able to learn more about this dinoflagellates. After the meeting with my P.I. and mentor, we have decided to sequence more clones from the Iwaco Harbor and Main channel red water bloom samples. We have also decided to dig out the red water samples from 2008 2009 2010 hopefully 2007 if we can find any, and massively sequence those bloom samples. By doing this, we will be able to generate a large enough clone library, and the clone library will be publishable because it will contain large amounts of data from a big enough time period.
We were also able to go to Bonneville dam and the Bonneville fishery hatch on Friday. I have never been to a dam before, so it was very interesting to see how a dam works and what fish has to do with a dam. The Bonneville fishery had a lot of different types of fish from the Columbia river. Most interesting ones were the big Sturgeon and some steelhead. I saw a sturgeon that was about 12 ft in length, which was very impressive. Apparently, sturgeons are so ancient that they already exist back in the jurassic era. They evolved from dinosaurs so they have no scales, but instead very thick skin that serves as an armour. The tour of Bonneville dam was also very interesting. I can't remember how many power houses total Bonneville dam has, but the power that the dam generates is sold to Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Canada and Nevada, sometimes even California. That's a lot of states to support power :) We also saw the Bonneville dam fish ladder, which was very depressing because I didn't see any fish jumping across the ladder. The "ladder" had holes underneath the water, therefore the fish don't need to jump over the ladder but instead just swim through the holes :( At the end, we stopped at Multnomah falls for some sight seeing. Some interns hiked up in an hour, while other interns (including me) stayed and ate some ice cream. Overall, it was a nice trip.