Yesterday, we started one of the years most exciting experiment..the oiled polar cod embryo experiment!! I am right now starting my 15th hour at work for today (only an hour more than yesterday) and the night is not over yet…. my sleeping bag is next to me just in case, but I do hope that I actually can drive the 40km home to Tromsø in about 2 or 3 hours.
After the wonderful job Ekaterina and Morgan did, fishing polar cod in the Barents Sea, the last few days have been punctuated by sleepless nights wondering whether our catch would spawn unexpectedly and thereby just throw away all our efforts to run an embryotoxicity exposure in the beginning of February.
The last few months, there has been a lot of people hard working on the design of the study and the set up. The engineers at our biological station have been doing a great job putting together incubators and oiled-rock columns. The picture above shows Morgan filling the columns will oiled rocks, that Luca prepared.
Finally the ripe fish were just too ripe for us to dare postpone the big day one week more: stripping and in vitro fertilization was on the timetable. The small group of Flemming, Luca, Morgan and myself spent much of yesterday finding out what we may have forgotten for a successful start. We were both nervous and impatient. I spent quite some time drawing a scheme on how the fertilization would look like. How many eggs in that beaker, so much sperm into this vial … I drew the plan at least 4 times, just to make sure I new it by heart and it made sense.
Finally we started and it went just perfect.
Today, for the first time of my life, I saw fertilized polar cod eggs, reaching the 2 cell cleavage stage, and the four and now they are at 32 cells. They are so beautiful….I feel like a mother….sleepless nights taking care of the newborn.