Posted by: unlikelygrad | May 27, 2010

pond scum

A few times a week I walk down to the local pond to get samples of natural water to run my experiments on. The creek is closer, but it isn’t nearly as gucky–I want water with lots of microorganisms, and the pond is perfect in this regard.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m Dr. Hand-Waver’s only student right now, but I’m rarely alone since we share our lab with another professor’s group. One of my labmates, E, knows a lot about pond fauna.

“See those little dots zipping around?” he told me the other day. “Those are daphnids–water fleas.” And then he told me all about their egg cases.

Today, I was boiling some water to use as a control when E walked by. “You’ve killed him!” he exclaimed.

“Whaaat? Who?”

“That little lobster guy. See? He’s turned all pink.” To my chagrin, I hadn’t noticed the little arthropod in the sample at first. There’s lots of “stuff” in there anyway–what’s one more little brown thing? But E had noticed the critter swimming around happily, before the temperature got too hot.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have someone around to point these things out to me.

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