Science Bloggers for Students DonorsChoose Challenge

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Dissertation on My Mind Photo Essay: The Lab Experiments

I’ve hinted around about my research but have never really provided any details. Right now, I’m very busy re-thinking, writing, and re-writing everything. So I thought, “Why do my work twice?”
So I’ll let you in on what I do.
I study Individuals Differences in Exploratory Behavior of Prairie Voles, Microtus ochrogaster. Well, it’s more like the exploratory behavior of prairie voles. The individual differences part has really been giving me some hassles. I’ve written, redone, split and lumped that part of my study close to half a dozen times. I’m still not providing many details, because the writing part is in progress.

Long story short: I watch how voles react, behave and move around when I placed them in unfamiliar settings. Here is a photo essay of the research I do in the lab.

This is where they live - in cages in a special Animal Care room.
This is one of my voles; it has an ear tag that has it's ID number on it. No pet names.

This is an open-field test with novel objects. The box in the middle is the start location. I record where the vole goes, how many times it enters the squares, and if it plays with the objects.
This is a Novel Choice test. The vole starts in the middle, then I lift the doors. A drop of odor is behind the screen and the vole visits one or both sides of the tube.

This is a Maze test. I record where the vole goes in the maze and how many times it reaches the dead-ends.

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