The Petri Bug Project
The Petri Bug Project was an experiment in tracing bacteria, molds and fungi living on insects that were found in my backyard, a wetland ecosystem. The insects were placed into the petri dish and left to crawl within its containment. Each bug was video documented, and then released back into it’s habitat. To add diversity to the variables, one insect was not found in the back yard, and was instead a captivity-raised insect used for lizard food, (Superworm). The motive for this type of research, was to watch the growth of bacteria emerge in the patterns in which the bug had moved. My hand in this experiment is of the in-field researcher, and laboratory assisted nurturer. The aesthetic development of the bacteria, is left to the insects’ choices alone, and letting the living patterns come forth independently on their own. Most excitingly, I discovered that some bacteria on the plates contained naturally florescent qualities when exposed to long wave, ultraviolet light (350-400nm). These glowing attributes found within my backyard ecosystem fascinated me. The ‘glow’ is most famously known as GFP, Green Fluorescent Protein, which comes isolated first, from a jellyfish, but can be found to exist else where in the organic world. In molecular biology the GFP gene is used as a ‘reporter of expression’. Bacteria, Yeast, Fungi, fish, plants, flies, and mammalian cells have all been documented to have contact with GFP. The images express a still record of the bugs motion, one-day growth, two days growth, and it appearance under ultraviolet light.
Wetland Cultures: Tracking the Colors of Bioluminescence
After the discovery of found Green Fluorescent Protein, I was curious the connections between bright and colorful living organisms found thriving in the wetlands and their relationships to the glowing bacteria. Choosing organisms that grew with bright visible color, under the visible spectra conditions of light (400-790nm) was a decision made to express that what we cant see with the naked eye (GFP properties) can exist on what displays visibly intriguing colors and patterns found in the woods. Multiple species of lichens, molds, fungi, mosses, rotting wood, and a discarded Cicada skin were the organisms that were cultured. In-field extraction was done methodically and with laboratory techniques of collecting specimens to avoid contamination. The images express the evolution of gathering directly from the woods and the transfer to the prepared, agar container. The growth was also documented, and most importantly recorded under ultraviolet light, to see the GFP. The containers used were an alternative to the commonly used petri dishes, because of my own connotations affiliated with this particular vessel.