Tallulah Pellissier Lloyd
Since that last blog post we have been working on our project all the time...
posted August 09, 2017
Since that last blog post we have been working on our project all the time. It is really interesting to actually find results from our data. Also the idea that Elise and I are the first people to make some discoveries is really exciting. We found that the range of Lepidoptera sizes are larger at higher temperatures. We also found that at high latitudes the maximum size is smaller than at the equator, but the minimum size remains the same.
I also really enjoyed learning to do the coding to make these graphs. I have done very little coding in my life, and it isn’t easy for me but it’s really exciting when it works and I’m able to tell a computer to do something in a way that it understands.
We also had the potluck this last week, and Elise and I made zucchini chocolate cake from scratch. Not many people ate it, but that was ok because we got to take a lot home! I’ve also been staying at my aunt’s house this week, which is really nice because I don’t have to commute as far to get to Stanford each day.
Tomorrow we give our presentations! I’m excited to share our research, but a little worried about some of the questions we will be asked. We aren’t sure about why we found what we found, so I don’t want to be asked about that. But I hope other people have theories about why Lepidoptera are bigger in some places, and they will their ideas with us.
I’m surprised by how fast the program (and summer) is going by
posted August 01, 2017
I’m surprised by how fast the program (and summer) is going by. I can’t believe this is already the sixth week here! I’ve gotten much more used to taking measurements,
which is good because in the beginning I wasn’t sure if I could handle doing so many of them. Now I can kind of get on a roll and do a lot at once and not notice time going
by. Elise and I have now measured 2,424 butterflies! In the last few weeks I think I’ve learned a lot about how research works and I understand that some tedious work is
necessary to gain enough information to analyze it and learn about the world.
I’m also really excited about starting our projects. My research project is using the butterfly body size data and their locations and environment and analyzing the
relationship between them all. So we are looking at the body size in relation to elevation, climate, location and the human population density. So far I think we found a
connection between the mean annual temperature to butterfly size. Butterflies don’t grow big in areas with lower temperatures. Once all the butterfly data is done and
organized we will do more analysis of environmental factors in relationship to the butterfly sizes.
I also really liked the camping trip and collection the fossils. Elise found an area with of crab fossils, that was probably the
sea floor at one point where many crabs lived. On this one particular level in the layers of sediment we collected around 50 crab fossils!
Tomorrow we are going to hear a lecture about fish and the number there are in the ocean and how people have not been reporting all the fish caught.
This means there is probably way less fish in the ocean than we think, and the ocean fisheries are close to collapse. I’m really excited to hear about
this more and ask him questions about the research and how he discovered this issue and what can be done about it.
So far I have learned many things...
posted July 06, 2017
So far I have learned many things that I was not expecting to learn about. For example, I have learned some programming skills. I also learned that there was
such a thing as subspecies and the technical difference between butterflies and moths. I also learned a lot more general knowledge about geologic time, by making
the time line.
One thing that really suppressed me was how specific each research project is and each specialty. The studies I have heard about in the lectures so far are
usually about something very specific, and I was expecting them to be about broader ideas or themes. I think I expected this because in school we are usually
told big broad scientific ideas, so I’m used to hearing this instead of learning about specific studies on specific organisms. I guess the general knowledge
comes from all these specific studies, though.
My favorite parts of the program so far have been listening to Saundra’s lectures on insect evolution and going on the field trip. I loved finding the fossils
and I didn’t realize that fossils could be found that easily or be so abundant anywhere in the world!