It’s been a busy week this week, both in and out of the office. Firstly there was a trip out to the coast with some friends to combine fish & chips, tacky gift shops and shopping with some seaweed collection. I need to say a quick thank you to my flat mate Sarah for being not only a great friend but a great marine biologist and assisting with seaweed collection. After this laid back start I seem to have spent the rest of the week racing around between three labs. In the MTGB (Marine Trace Gas Biogeochemistry) lab I keep my cultured seaweed and also got my new finds cleaned up and into some suitable flasks. Then there’s another lab where I’m taking some headspace samples from my seaweed to analyse for volatile hydrocarbons and another lab where I’m learning how to purge halocarbons from water samples and analyse them using GC-MS with the help of one of my supervisors, Claire.
Despite feeling like I’ve had lots of work on this week it’s also been really positive in many ways. As well as really getting started with some lab techniques I found out on Friday that my application for extra financial support from the department was approved which means I can order new seaweed cultures next week. I also felt like my understanding of the whole topic is coming together – when I met with one of my supervisors on Thursday I had plenty of ideas of how I wanted to improve my analytical technique and move forwards with my work, which is something I never thought would happen back in October.
As a little aside from work I want to mention a great talk I went to on Monday night sponsored by the Challenger Society (http://challenger.bangor.ac.uk) which looked at marine conservation in the Indian Ocean and the challenges in incorporating science, society and politics into solutions to environmental issues. It really highlighted to me how important it is to engage with other stakeholders when discussing environmental issues and how this is easier said that done. It was a great evening, and definitely worth the 70+ wine glasses I dried up afterwards!