As the summer nears its inevitable end, more and more projects are awaiting their spotlight at the lab. This week, we focused on student projects and preparations for the student that are coming back from the field. And as always, we wanted to share the ins and outs of how to best survive the lab portion of our jobs.

Tip #19- Label everything!
–> Sounds pretty basic, right? Wrong. By the time you are done pipetting the first few solutions into the tube, you forget which solution is your ethanol and which is your deionized water.

Tip #20- Write everything!
–> Yes, everything. The methods, the procedures, and everything in between. There is a reason scientists have been using lab notebooks for decades.

Tip #132- Always clean your hood.
–> The best way to prevent any contamination is to clean your hood right before you start your procedure and immediately after. Even if you are the only one who used this hood the day before, clean it one more time before you begin your day at the lab.

Tip #146- Hydration, hydration, hydration.
–> Since food and drinks are not allowed inside the lab, make sure you take small breaks during the day to hydrate yourself and maybe grab a snack. Your brain will thank you later.

Tip #51- Check for sterility.
–> On most things you will be setting inside your hood, you will be able to find a sealing striped tape. Only if the stripes are visible and black, and the seal is unbroken, it is safe to use that object.

Tip #31- When in doubt, communicate.
–> Good results and a great learning environment are founded on good communication. We are all here to succeed together and help each other. So if you are stuck, lost, or just need to talk, we are all here for you.

Tip #106- Use the SOPs.
–> The SOPs, or standard operating procedures, are stepwise sets of instructions for the different procedures that are done in the lab. Even some of our faculty still use them, even though they performed these procedures about a thousand times in the past.

As always, please send us your survival tips to @Wildlifeepilab on Instagram or @WildlifeEpiLab on Twitter.


Until next time,

don’t forget to save the world one turtle at a time.