Emergency protocol activated


Today was a rough day at work, that ended even worse than it started. I was preparing an aphid treatment for the experiment that we have had running for the last couple of weeks. Now some things have happened in the experiment without my knowledge (and with the best intentions). Sadly, this meant that we would quickly need a change of plans in order to turn the experiment into a similarly useful design with which we could still test our main questions, while this would compromise the aphid treatments that I had planned. For the first time in my time as a postdoc, I have had an emergency call with my boss to think together about how to proceed and move the situation forward. I’m very happy with what we came up with in this call, and I’m happy to be able to still move this high risk high gain experiment forward, mostly unscathed.

Situations like these show how critical it is in ecology to be flexible and adaptable, and how tough it can be to work with living sensitive model systems.

On a most positive note. Our fungal treatments and mock treatments in this experiment did exactly what they should (and shouldn’t) do. I think this is the most wonderful thing, a treatment of which you see that it works, and you don’t have to include stats to convince people.

Once this experiment is over, I will sleep very well.

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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