The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

............................................ ............................................ A blog devoted to the ramblings of a small town, middle aged college professor as he experiences life and all its strange variances.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

New Ones


I haven't done this for a few years.... since well before Covid, in fact.  I went out hunting.....

for fruit flies.

Periodically, over the years, I have started cultures of locally caught, wild fruit flies.  Even though rats and various rodents are my major organisms in my research, I do some smaller projects with fruit flies, and with a small nematode as well.... because the fruit fly and the nematode offer some advantages for research that the wonderful rodents do not.  Namely, the fruit fly and the nematode have considerably shorter generational time frames than any of the rodents, and this factor is especially valuable for some of the research work I conduct with specifically UNDERGRADUATE student researchers.  Undergraduate student researchers are not as focused as my Graduate student researchers, and they tend to have more limited time to participate in research.  So, the shorter generational time facilitates some of my work with my cadre of undergraduate researchers.   

Even though I have a variety of long-running cultures of fruit flies that are commercially available..... and many of these are interesting and valuable mutant strains that help in the neural and endocrine research I focus on,  And, I have a commercially available "Wild" strain as well (wild is a bit of a misnomer here, it is more accurately called a "normal" strain). But, I have over the years, collected my own fruit flies from various locations near and far.  Usually I look for orchards, or large, industrial trash bins, or for folks who compost.  And, I will then hide amongst those locations fruit fly media that I have a recipe for that encourages them to lay eggs.  

AND, what is very interesting and especially nice about these truly wild strains I have collected, they often exhibit interesting behavioral variations that TOO are helpful in some of the research designs I have the undergraduates work through (both as research students... but also in some of the canned, teaching laboratory experiences I guide students through in my classes as well).  Of the various wild strands I have collected over the years.... THREE of them proved especially valuable so that I have been keeping each of those going for many years now.  Others I have collected did not pan out to be particularly noteworthy.... so I did not culture them particularly long.  But, I would like to find another new "interesting" wild type to culture.  

This new culture I am starting to work with now, was collected about 7 days ago.  So far, everything looks promising.  I have larvae and am awaiting maturation so I can then work to get a robust culture to begin to examine them for any interesting "quirks" to see if they will be a variety I will keep going into the future.  We shall see how it goes.  

Also, I am thinking about going hunting for additional samples in some other new locations before it gets too cold.  I may sample another 4-5 locations to see my luck.  Maybe one (or more) will pan out to be interesting enough to keep.  

Also, in the back of my mind, I have thought about how it could be fun if I were, on my next foray into Canada, to see if may be able to sample some to develop a potential "Canadian" strain of wild fruit fly.  I think it would intrigue some of my students, if I did.  And perhaps I WOULD find the strain interesting enough to keep going as well.  I suspect I will be spending at least a couple of days in Canada sometime in the upcoming year, so I am keeping the idea of this in my thoughts.  

  • It was very, very windy this morning (not sure if the wind may be a factor due to the hurricane situation down South or not.... it may be as the wind was Southerly in origin), and I just did not feel up to running into a strong headwind for a lot of miles.  So, I ran 10 miles on the track indoors (~16 km).  
  • I am not sure if I am creating a "monster" or not.  But, I kept the pipe filled with the wonderful bowlful of "Three Star Blue" between my teeth most of the day.  Even the extremely minor hint of its flavor (when not smoking it, of course).... was utterly enticing.  Other than while teaching (in my big, booming, professorial voice), I have had that same pipe clamped between my chompers today as well.  That Chicago experience was SO beautiful.  
  • We did get to swim yesterday, and it was relaxing and luxurious feeling.  I am hoping (fingers crossed) we may get to swim late this afternoon as well.



Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I wonder whereabouts in Canada you are off to because some of it/us is not very far from you.

Wednesday, 30 August, 2023  
Blogger Margaret said...

I'm happy you got to swim. Your passion for what you do is admirable and you are brilliant. I've never thought of fruit flies as being worthy of research.

Wednesday, 30 August, 2023  
Blogger GaP said...

Any degree of The Frumpy Professor having the pipe in his life again paints a very warm picture.

Thursday, 31 August, 2023  
Blogger jenny_o said...

I have a very resilient strain of fruit fly reproducing in my kitchen this summer, if you're interested. They refuse to be wiped out!

Monday, 04 September, 2023  

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