WIG Intern Casey Doe ’20 Studies Species Threatened by Climate Change with the Walla Walla Community College Wet Lab

Hey, Whitman community! I’m Casey Doe, a junior Biology major. I’m currently working in a lab outside of Whitman, the Wet Lab over at the Walla Walla Community College. The daily ins and outs of the lab are fun and interesting for me as a certified Biology Nerd, but I do struggle to find a way to make these fun things I do at my job relatable… do you think it’s fun that I get to suck baby lamprey up with a turkey baster to count and measure them? Is it super cute and silly that when you shake them in a petri dish gently back and forth they relax their little muscles so you can measure them? I think so! But they are little slimy dudes.

I enjoy working there though because the research is very relevant, especially now in our rapidly changing climate. Species like lamprey, trout, and mussels, (the lab’s focus) which travel a lot in their lifetimes, are especially at risk from anthropogenic changes because they rely not just on one ecosystem but on several, as well as the balance between them. Because of this, it’s necessary to understand more about how they live and how they have been changing over the recent years.

One project I had recently was–while tedious (measuring hundreds of tiny little mussel larvae from pictures taken through a microscope)–interesting in this light because it was contributing to a dataset spanning a large range of dates and places measuring the sizes of the larvae in local watersheds. I’m proud to be able to contribute to this project that has been in the works now for some time, and which I know will only continue to grow.

Picture: Tiny mussel larvae known as glochidia viewed through a microscope.

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