Snailed it!

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The Adventurous Souls of the Snail Lab:

Kelsey DiPenta, the “Parafilm & Plate Pouring Prodigy”

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Kelsey is the youngest member of the lab and arguably the cutest and most genuine soul found on campus. Being a Biology major, she can almost always be found in the science center, either pouring plates or taking a power nap on the couches. Her spontaneity is 100% contagious. She doubles as a generous chauffeur who will ALWAYS drive you anywhere, whether to Rita’s down the street or an hour away. Despite her allergy to cats and dogs, Kelsey has aspirations of owning several cats of her own. Whether in lab or around campus, Kelsey always will brighten your day.

Sarahrose Jonik, the “Life of the Lab”

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Sarahrose Jonik (a.k.a. Sayro, Troublemaker #1, or The Life of the Lab) ensures that the snail lab stays on its toes. When she’s not maneuvering snails like an absolute champ or rocking boot pants in the field, she entertains the lab by belting out the Krusty Krab pizza song. No one will ever really know how she manages to keep her white kicks so crisp and clean, or how she can keep her energy up while being a dedicated biology student and softball star. Her star power on the field is matched only by her star power during epic drum solos in Rock Band.

 Courtney Ward, the Ray of Sunshine 

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Courtney is the lab’s resident BMB major, and is the girl to go to if you ever need any life advice. Courtney brightens up the snail lab, both with her colorful leggings and sunshiny attitude. Her cooking skills are absolutely impeccable, establishing the best gourmet meals a college student could prepare. Whether it be in the game Cooking Mama or in the Appleford kitchen, she is always creating something delicious. One look at her chickpea cookie dough or her chicken salad will leave your mouth-watering. Courtney also has a very active lifestyle, which is reflected in her job at the Den and her love of yoga and zumba.

 Dr. Peter Fong, our Fearless Leader 

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As a pioneer in aquatic toxicology and dog enthusiast, Dr. Fong has been an absolute privilege to work with. He is extremely devoted and passionate about his work and all things invertebrate. You can almost always catch him with his best friend, Messi, a beautiful golden retriever. He frequents the Covered Bridge as his prime fishing location and does anything he can to avoid mowing the lawn. It has been a wonderful summer in Snail Lab and we will never forget our Fearless Leader!

Check out his some of his recent work here.


A Day in the Life for us Snail Folk:

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SPOILER ALERT: These are mussels. They were all dead.

Every day, the bright-eyed individuals of McCreary 212 fell into a routine revolving around snails. We set up hundreds of finger bowls filled with water, collected the snails, waited for them to get comfy in their new home, treated the snails, waited an hour for the drugs to kick in, collected the data for each individual snail, and repeated this process.

We were not deterred by the absence of living mussels in the Magothy river which put a hold on one experiment, OR the extremely high stream levels which prevented crayfish collection. Instead we turned to what we knew best–MORE snails.

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Who took these pictures you ask? No one! #selfiemode

Snail Assay

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We named every snail to make them feel more at home #nobias

The main focus of this toxicology lab is on the induced effects that pharmaceuticals & other industrial chemicals commonly found in the environment have on specific behaviors of aquatic invertebrates. We were particularly focused on the marine and freshwater snails, Ilyanassa obsoleta and Leptoxis carinata respectively.

The tricyclic antidepressants, imipramine, chlomipramine and amitriptyline, were tested on the snails at varying concentrations to determine if they have a significant impact on the righting behavior of these creatures. The righting reflex is the snail’s ability to re-orient itself after being knocked on its back by natural forces, or by pesky student researchers with a blunt pair of forceps.

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Crayfish Assay

During the last week in lab, the snail experts began crayfish experimentation. It was a unanimous agreement that snails are preferred over the violent tendencies of the crayfish. Their righting behavior when exposed to methoxychlor, a pesticide commonly found in the environment, was observed. All creatures were safely returned to their homes in the wild.


Important Life Lessons Learned in Snail Lab:

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Sayro & Kelsey showing proper dish stacking technique #21isthelimit

  • How to siphon gasoline (handy)
  • How to short-sheet a bed (useful prank)
  • How to create a galaxy in coffee with cream (fun when bored)
  • And most importantly… How to properly stack dishes! –>

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The 8 Week Journey Described Through Song:

Life Is A Highway – The adventures we embarked on in Snail Lab are those that will last a lifetime

Jeopardy Theme Song – No explanation needed, we work with snails.

Toxic, Britney Spears – … well, we work in a toxicology lab #drugs

Sweet Escape – Despite the fact that some snails can take 45 minutes to right themselves, they have an amazing talent for escaping their bowls in record timing.

Country Road, Take Me Home – Its been real. Snail Lab, OUT! ❤

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