Monday, April 4, 2011

Here comes the sun---doo do doo dooo

Welcome to spring (quarter)! This celebratory quarter is appropriately heralded by the wonderful and toasty sunny days that have finally arrived, and now we can really call this place sunny San Diego. This week has been quite hectic, with me being sick and all while volunteering for the Clinton Global Initiative University for the past two days. Former President Clinton is a great public speaker, and I greatly enjoyed being able to hear him discuss about various social justice issues and topics with the panelists.

But to get back to the blog on hand, spring quarter also means the revisiting of bioinformatics work! To start this off, Lizzie assigned me with the task of going through a list of plant species through the Kew Royal Botanical Gardens database, which I have to say, was much easier to do than going through previous data sets in the past. This database is a mix between USDA Plants and Jepson Online Interchange in that I think it is aesthetically pleasing to view and to read the information, props to you Kew Gardens webmaster. The site in general is easy to navigate, and the database is well organized, easy to read, and contains information by category type and color-coded, something that gives it a bit of character unless the viewer is color-blind, in which case the viewer may be out of luck. I was able to obtain a majority of the information for seed mass of the species listed on the data set from this site, but I may have to poke around elsewhere to obtain other information, such as seed numbers, genome size, and any other random, but relevant information.

This, by the way, is the time it takes to arrive by bike.
While going through and viewing the Kew Gardens site, I remembered what Lizzie had said about arboretums being large plant museums and thought, "Hey, maybe I should check out the one close to home...How close is it anyway?" Thanks to Google Maps, I now know that I live approximately ~10 minutes from the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanical Gardens (and ~10 minutes east of The Huntington Library, which also contains a botanical garden). Sadly, the LA Arboretum is only 127-acre, small when compared to the 300-acre large Kew Gardens. Maybe I should visit the next time I'm in the area...or I can simply wait for the resident peacocks that wander in the park to come visit me.

::edit 4-8::
Ok, I take back a portion of what I said about this data set being "easier" to complete than the others in the past. Seed mass was easy to get, everything else however...not so much. The "everything else" includes chromosome number, ploidy level, and C-value of the plant species. This is now a familiar position that I find myself in, because searching for this information on the data base often comes up with the page that states "No rows returned by this query. Try selecting different conditions." This translates to my data set being splotchy and sporadic in the information that I can find and have input into Excel, but not to worry because the search for this information will continue!

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