Denise is a Post Doc interested in studying different aspects of the ecology of Heliconius. Currently, she is focusing on the role of mushroom bodies in their spatial and visual memory through behavioral experiments.
She came to the GOSH 2022 Global Gathering because she wanted help with a challenge she had studying her butterflies with camera traps. We managed a quick and easy hack that let her work flourish!
The PIR sensors picked up the butterfly movement fine (to my surprise!), but she needed to get up close imagery of them, and the camera traps normally have a set focal length for much further away. We were thinking about hacking the lenses, but during the camera trap hacking session at #gosh2022 (there’s no tag for this yet) with fellow hackers Pen and George Albercook , we came up with an even easier fix!
This week Denise bought some cheap reading glasses (+3.00), we precisely cut them, and we velcroed them on!
She wants to trakc how much carbon (sugar) the plant gives to their fungal friends (mycorrhizal fungi), and how much it keeps to itself. She needed a portable way to create a controlled atmosphere to inject specific isotopes of carbon into the plants in the field.
We helped obtain materials and brainstorm designs for how to build these devices, and she succeeded fantastically!
One morning we helped out the butterfly lab whip up a quick working instrument to help measure the pull strength of heliconius butterfly legs (for WAYYYY cheaper than scientific devices you can buy)!
The Pullinator is a device used to determine a butterfly’s strength by measuring how much weight they can pull. Our PhD student, Jessie, uses it to study muscle deterioration in butterflies as they age. Cool, right? But the best thing about The Pullinator is how it got made!
From their lab instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/CcrLzgCr_6b/ “It all started with Andrew K Davis et al paper where they measured grip strength in monarchs using a force gauge. As Jessie proceeded to search where to buy such device, her engineer Uncle asked, “why not build it yourself?” She began this operation by consulting the amazing @digital.naturalism.labs who successfully brought it to life! Later, Ernesto Bonadies from @biologickecentrumavcr suggested using sandpaper to standardize the friction of the gripping area as it has a defined numerical scale. Finally, the name and beautiful typescript came from our PhD student, Laura Hebberecht.”
This amazing device is just one example of the incredible things we can create when we use our creativity, intellect and most importantly, our collaborative spirit.