Here at the University of Michigan Biological Station, UMBS for short, things are ramping up. More and more people arrive every day, spring semester will start on Monday, and – most notably – the mosquitos and black flies are hatching and hungrily crawling out to find their first meal of the summer (us).
My days so far follow this schedule:
7:15 wake up
8:00 to the greenhouse! watering plants and checking on butterflies
9:30 fix old machinery, set up for project
12:30 back up the hill to continue working
7:00 hanging out with other researchers, hiking, admiring the lake, playing cards
The days are long and are getting exhausting as the temperature heats up and the sun beats down in the field. But we are getting close to being done with preparation. As soon as the frost warnings stop and the plants are big enough to be put outside, we will be placing them in the chambers to begin their growth in the elevated carbon dioxide. After they are grown, we will begin feeding them to the little monarch caterpillars and consequently testing their immunity against a parasite.
I was drawn to this internship because of my interest in ecological research. This internship will allow me to understand the workings of a field season from the nitty-gritty set up, to the maintenance of equipment, care of insects and plants, to the collection and analyzing of data to the clean up at the end. I hope to take these experiences to my future careers and make a difference in the world of ecology.
Time flies by quickly here when we are working hard every day – I can’t believe June is just around the corner. I’m learning so much each day and can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer will bring.