June Week 1

“Just time for a short recap of the week” John Oliver’s opening of almost every Season 2 episode of Last Week Tonight.

This week we started a field experiment investigating the effects of jasmonic acid and plant variety on disease transmission. Long day Sunday working in the greenhouse with all hands on deck. Lunch graciously provided by Bret via the El Salvadoreña food truck.

I started a predator defecation experiment last week that should be about halfway over today. Spined soldier bugs were fed an infected caterpillar and then left on plants for varying amounts of time. After the soldier bugs were removed, I added caterpillars to each plant and will measure the number of caterpillars that become infected after skeletonizing the plant (eating all but the veins). This study is happening in the lab where it’s nice and air conditioned. Especially since a nice gentleman from Facility Services fixed our air conditioning in the lab!

We also got an update from Dr. Becky Carmichael at LSU’s Communication Across the Curriculum department about our caterpillars that we will be using as part of a defense markings experiment. We are excited to get this project off the ground and will have more updates when we’ve collected data and nearing the time to submit the manuscript. Just saying, we’re probably going to revolutionize the field, no big deal.

That’s it for now, check back next week!

Matt Cats

Matt puts caterpillars on plant for defecation study

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