Now we came to the part of the experiment that involved feeding. Each "foram" was moved from their falcon flask to a water dish for observation. Specially prepared diatoms were transferred into the dish in direct proximity to the foram. The diatoms would be caught by the forams’ rhizopodia and drawn into the foram itself. Each foram was left in the dish for 20-30 minutes to feed before being rinsed in filtered seawater and transported back to its original container. This process was conducted every other day until the foram completed its life cycle.
Throughout the experiment we observed growth and death of the forams. We were able to see that the size of the shells had increased. The forams eventually underwent gametogenosis, the conversion of their cytoplasm for reproduction, thus representing the end of their life cycle.
When these observations were complete the forams had to be cleaned of organic matter. This process consisted of running each individual shell through a cleaning solution meant to rid the foraminifera of the leftover organic matter and then through a water bath that ran sonic waves through the water.
The final stage of the experiment involved analyzing the composition of the shells using laser ablation mass spectrometry. Laser ablation mass spectrometry is a process by which a laser essentially blows up layers of the subject and extracts what has been released and measures the chemical composition. Each chamber of each foram was put through this process, and Dr. Davis is now analyzing and interpreting the results! This research will aid in understanding how foraminifera record the environment around them.
~ A. Rueckert is a recent graduate of UC Davis, with a B.S. in Marine & Coastal Science.
For more information on student research in the Hill lab, check out these posts:
- July 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- December 2016
- October 2016
- September 2016
- Aug 23, 2016 Laura: A future teacher experiences marine research
- Aug 17, 2016 Adam: Reflecting on the Past, in Years & Kiloannums
- Aug 13, 2016 Amanda: Testing the waters in ocean chemistry
- Aug 1, 2016 Grace: Carrying on a tradition of environmental stewardship
- Jul 21, 2016 Walker: Seagrass, sediments, and a future in marine science
- Jul 19, 2016 Welcome to the student research blog!