Saturday, June 7, 2008

Graduate Research: First Glimpse

The first few days have passed at the agricultural research station where my graduate field studies will take place. Though I don’t officially start grad school until fall, I set aside time during my current visit to the PacNW for a site visit to learn more about my project and meet (be assessed by) the third co-advisor of my committee.

An immature stonefly, order Plecoptera

I spent some time in the lab sorting aquatic invertebrates we collected, a component which may or may not be a part of my research project. My project is still pretty loosely defined. It’s partially up to me to clarify some of the questions with my interests -- an endeavor more easily stated than done. I lack my bearings in the aquatic stuff, so more lit. searches and lots of reading await me .

The research station is East of the Columbia Gorge and only a few miles from the river as the crow flies, I would estimate. The agricultural fields are mostly round given the widespread use of center-pivot irrigation here. Everyone is so nice, even the teenagers. I can't get over it. (I have been in Phoenix for several years after all.)

Center-pivot irrigation

One night was spent at the home of one of my co-advisor and his spouse: lovely and large, it's perched on the grassy banks of the Columbia River. Windows everywhere boast an unobstructed view…It was exquisite. I’d met the other two advisors previously. This third one is a character! Self-described as terse, I believe he is really a sheep (or perhaps joker?) in wolf’s clothing. An excellent scientist and all-around great person, too. All my advisors are amazing. I am so lucky. Now, about all those non-entomology courses they’re having me take… ;)

One of my advisors demonstrating how to sample for aquatic insects

Living in the student housing at the research station and visiting field sites quenched my wanderlust for roaming this past week. It rears up each spring, a remnant from temp/seasonal wildlife work. Guess old habits die hard. Come early September, I'll get another dose of it before classes begin... And I can hardly wait. For now, back to AZ.

Field housing... "Roughing it"

No comments: