Sometimes, peer review (and procrastination) help. Other times, the delays generate more net work. I was discussing this workflow with a colleague regarding a paper that was submitted two-years ago, rejected, then we both ran out of steam. This was the gold-standard workflow we proposed (versus reformat and submit to another journal immediately).
Hit web of science and check for new papers on topic.
Download the pdfs.
Think about what to cite or add.
Add citations and rebuild biblio.
Update writing to mention new citations especially if they are really relevant (intro and discussion).
Take whatever pearls of wisdom you can from rejection in first place and revise ideas, plots, or stats.
Format for new journal.
Check requirements for that journal.
Search the table of contents for the journal and check your lit cited to ensure you cite a few papers from that journal – if not, assess whether that the right journal for this contribution.
Download pdfs from new journal, read, cite, and interpret.
Then, look up referees and emails.
Write cover letter.
Set up account for that new and different annoying journal system – register and wait.
Fight with system to submit and complete all the little boxes/fields.
I had a great time last week representing the Lortie lab and discussing work from my research practicum with president and vice chancellor of York university Rhonda Lenton. Aside from gaining wonderful feedback from her, which will definitely assist me in my future endeavours, I was thrilled to present the importance and impact of biology research with her as well as the many other influential attendees. I am excited and eager to experience the opportunities that lie ahead.
After a 2 month growing and censusing period, followed by a harvesting, drying, and biomass census I have concluded my 200 pot competition series.
During this period, I had obtained a photometer to measure light levels and did two light census for both the overall pot as well as below canopy. I am hoping that these light measures will provide quantifiable insight on the effect light has on growth. I hypothesize that plants receiving ambient light will yield greater mean biomass per species, while those in shade conditions (to mimic shrub presence) will have a greater mean height due to leggy growth.
I wanted to quantify the growth of my plants through several metrics, and therefore chose to obtain both height and leaf measurements for each species from each pot. In order to acquire these measurements, I implemented a new censusing technique for my second and final census. In this census I counted the number of individuals of each separate species there were per pot. Following this, I took the tallest individual of each species, and recorded its height along with the number of leaves. This way, following the harvest and mechanical oven drying period I would be able to compare the biomass of the plant with its height and leaf count. This would allow me to evaluate plant growth using two separate dimensions; plant height along and number of leaves vs. plant biomass.
After using a mechanical drying oven set to 62 degrees Fahrenheit for 48 hours, I used a precision scale to obtain the biomass of each plant.
The experiment planning, seed counting, pot filling, plant censusing, harvesting, and biomass analysis processing were extensive processes. I am extraordinarily grateful to Dr. Christopher Lortie, Dr. Jacob Lucero, Masters graduate Jenna Braun, research practicum student Anuja, and Economics and Finance student Denis Karasik for their time, efforts, and immense assistance with running this experiment.
Statistical analyses for all of the results are still in work, and I am eager to see the conclusion my experiment comes to.
Belowground harvest: need to harvest entire plant at once by removing plants and roots from pot experiments (for instance) and gently washing to remove all soil but keeping roots and shoots intact. Then, snip aboveground growth from below.
Depending on level of replication and lowest possible independent sample unit, harvest one individual, one species, or all individuals of one species per pot into independent paper bags.
Place in ovens at 68F for at least 2 days.
Leave all plants in paper bags in oven until the moment you are ready to weigh.
Remove from paper bags to weigh for small plants. Typically, I weigh to 3-4 decimal grams for small desert annual plants.
Return plants to bag, do not return to oven, store in a paper box for a few weeks or until all data entered and checked.
I want my final paper to be useful for and applicable to restoration ecology. This led me to inquire what data I should collect for my second census. My germination rates are up, and all four species are present, so would relying on number of individuals and biomass of each species per pot be enough data? I decided that since I am using light as a limiting factor I must include height in my data; the plants may have somewhat similar biomass, but if it is due to leggy growth in the shaded pots then it will be important to note that although biomass was similar resource allocation was not equal. Are great amounts of leggy, weak, and nutrient deficient plants with few leaves better for ecosystems then having fewer shorter but thicker, more leafy plants? I measured the number of individuals per species per pot, alongside with the height and number of leaves the tallest member of each species had per pot. I have yet to analyze these numbers, but did notice trends when doing the census!
Side note: I conducted a germination experiment in the greenhouse prior to using these seeds, and have let them grow out. My Phacelia tanacetifolia is growing a beautiful flower!