Firs, Gravel, Phytophthora, V8, and Rice

In one long day (yesterday) I planted all the firs I’ll be using in my fall experiments in the gravel bed. The gravel bed is temporary housing, I’ll dig them up in early September to plant them at my field experiment sites. Right now I can forget about them for a few months. It’s nice to have that wrapped up. One of the firs was telling me how excited he is to witness PSU football tailgating. I didn’t break it to him that he would only see a game or two before being transplanted.

A Missouri gravel bed of firs near Beaver Stadium.

On Tuesday I picked up fresh cultures of Phytophthora cactorum and P. drechsleri. I made several plate transfers onto V8 agar. Today I transferred parts of those cultures to rice. In two weeks I’ll have about four pounds of rice covered with phytophthora. That rice will be used to inoculate firs in two of my experiments. I’m planning to release the phytophthora (I just typed typed “release the phytophthora” in a “release the Kraken!” fashion) on the firs.

A plant destroyer lurks on V8.

I'm culturing deadly rice (deadly to plants, that is).

It’s been great to see my to do list shrinking. The cost is early mornings, long days at work, and crashing when I get home. I estimate I have another two weeks or so before my schedule regains some sense of normalcy (at least as normal as a schedule can be for a grad student).

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