It all comes down to this tiny drop...
For the past four months we have been working on extracting the DNA and running individual PCRs on all 361 coral samples we collected in Bocas last summer. In order to sequence the 16S genes of all the bacteria on these 361 corals, we needed to amplify the DNA of each coral in a separate reaction and then pool them together. After several quantification and cleaning steps, we ended up with our final product, the result of months and months of work:
See that tiny drop of clear liquid at the bottom of the tube with my initials? That's it! At this point, I'm always terrified that I'm going to drop or spill or lose those precious 4 ul. But, we didn't. We successfully transported it to the Harvard sequencing facility and are anxiously awaiting the sequences. We are very excited about this dataset! It will give us a lot of insight into how the bacterial communities responsible for white band disease change over the course of infection.
Currently we are both back down in Bocas del Toro, teaching with Northeastern University's Three Seas Program. As part of the Biology of Corals class, we have created a Tumblr site where the students can post their favorite pictures of healthy and unhealthy corals around Bocas, check it out!
Hope you're having a good New Year!
Sarah & Felicia