Our Environmental Microbiology lab was in the field yesterday collecting phytoplankton and environmental data for a lab on culture methods using dilution and agar plating. The students learned to filter water, prepare media and agar plats, autocalve and how to ID and count algal cells on a hemocytometer. They’ll be monitoring algal growth over the next few weeks to create growth curves.
The awesome thing about being at B-CU is we are a 5 minute drive from the Halifax River Lagoon and running out for a field experience in the middle of the day isn’t difficult! The local fisherman on the pier always love hearing our impromptu lessons and asking in the Halifax is “healthy”.
Is the lagoon healthy? It’s hard to say. The Halifax is an incredibly understudied system with substantial urban development along the shores. We are working on publishing a study on water quality and there are definitely areas of concern with nutrients and evidence of with low oxygen.
Safety first! We wore our masks and social distanced as much as we could.
The fluid the students are working with in the video below is sterilized seawater.
Some of our upcoming labs will take our students kayaking to collect water samples 🌊