Today I received my samples back from their holiday in Amsterdam, and I am happy to announce that all but one sample worked. The samples from today coupled with the samples I received last month amount to 75 successfully sequenced samples to date. These samples, which comprise four genes, make up a large proportion of my sample set and thus represent a massive step forward in the completion of my thesis.
But as much as I would like to say that this is all my doing, I have to admit that I could not have donewhat i have done thus far without the help of my amazing supervisor: Dr Shelley Edwards. Her amazing grasp of genetic concepts coupled with her ability to laugh at my ‘kak’ jokes makes her an instrumental part of my thesis. Her kindness, enthusiasm, and ambition are a valuable resource to the Rhodes Zoology and Entomology Molecular Lab (ZEML), and so I see nothing but great things coming from the lab in the future.
Werner Conradie (or otherwise known as ‘Our main man Werner’ by Luke and I) is my co-supervisor and another integral part of my research progress to date. He is a herpetologist working for the Bayworld Museum in Port Elizabeth and without his expertise in the field of herpetology and his remarkable ability to source and acquire tissue samples, my data set would be nowhere near as complete as it is today.
Like Dr Edwards often says, ‘Science is a collaborative endeavour’; although the skills and findings of one researcher may benefit science, the collaboration of many scientists, and thus the pooling of knowledge, results in science of the highest caliber. My achievements thus far, although easy to attribute to my efforts plus those of my supervisors, are more accurately attributed to the efforts of many people from many walks of life.
Behind every research paper there are a lot of people who have contributed to the final product. Although not everyone can get their name on the byline, their contributions are integral to the completion of the final product. My project would not exist without the help of other ‘reptile-lovers’, some from as far as the DRC, because without the samples they have provided for the study, my dataset would comprise of only Grahamstown spotted skaapstekers.
These people include:
Werner Conradie, Dr Krystal Tolley, Prof Eli Greenbaum, Dr Bryan Maritz, Prof Bill Branch, Ninda Baptiste, Luke Kemp, Gary Nicolau, Courtney Hundermark, Darren Pieterson, Luke & Ursula Verbught, Cara Trivella, Francois Theart, Tyrone Ping, Dylan Leonard, Liam Yell, Theo Busschau, Jo Balmer, Alex Rebelo.