Emily’s first few weeks

Oct 7th 2020.

It’s been a busy month for the team, with everybody settling in and getting started on their projects. Luckily Bristol had a pretty sunny September, so the team was able to have some socially distanced meetings on Brandon Hill. For me, it’s been the first month of my PhD, and as a teaching assistant for the School of Geographical Sciences. Starting a new position, especially in the middle of a pandemic, was going to be daunting, but the team and the school have been incredibly supportive. I’ve been able to start working in the MicroLab, getting to know the equipment and planning out what the first year of my PhD could include.

The first task was to install the three multi-cultivators we’ve bought from Photon Systems Instruments. These brilliant machines can control the temperature, and both the light colour and intensity of the samples, taking regular optical density readings so that we can see the populations of the cultures grow. So far, we have two of these multi-cultivators set up. One we have inoculated with glacial algae that Chris brought back from the Alps this summer, which we are hoping to culture. This is set up in the dedicated low temperature lab in order to best recreate the environment that these algae experience on the ice. In the other multi-cultivator, me and our MScR student Rachel Pickford have inoculated some snow algae that we are using to get to know the programming of the machine. This should enable us to run some more cultures after Christmas, so watch this space! 

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