March 12, 2008

Being Productive

All in all, today has been productive enough that I feel I can take a little break and write something in the afternoon. I haven't had much time for blogging in the past few days. Things have been very busy in the time since I came back from New York.

Still, I started the morning by meeting with and securing the last member of my committee. I got what I think will be some valuable help from her regarding sources on beetle-related entomology that's already been fed into my outline toward a full-fledged research proposal.

As things turned out, that couldn't have come a moment too soon. The good folks at Massachusetts DCR wanted something like a proposal from me to append to the special use permit (AKA a Memorandum of Agreement) that will allow me to legally collect specimens at Wachusett. I have the draft of the MOA on my desk as I write this and the terms certainly look right. I should be meeting with several of the DCR's authorized representatives next week to go over the general ground rules and finalize everything. Then I can start collecting, just in time for Spring.

Of course, getting my proposal into shape wasn't helped by a blackout that hit just as I was on a roll. As a result, I lost a big chunk of work that I thought I'd been fortunate enough to put into the thing in a very short time. I was between autosaves in MS Word and lost a whole Methods outline. Bleah. I had to step away from this machine, have a smoke, and then start over again.

Next up, I think, is getting started on a review paper about Cordyceps symbiosis and phylogeny. I've got a fat pile of research papers to wade through and narrow down so that my paper will ultimately be 10-20 pages. Oddly enough, most of the stuff on Cordyceps out there is more about biochemistry than symbiology or even general ecology. I think I should be able to cobble together 6 or 8 pertinent papers for review, though. I haven't looked for citations from the Spatafora lab's website yet, which might have been a good place to start now that I think about it.

OK, enough break. Back to work.

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