The Daily Life of a Researcher

Have you ever wondered what researchers and scientists do on a day to day basis? We were wondering about that too and that’s why we asked them to show their everyday life to us! For almost a year now, University of Tartu researchers have posted fascinating photos about their fieldwork, lab experiments and discoveries to their Instagram account @tartuuniversity. Here is a snapshot of some of their photos which show how exciting a life of a researcher can be. Oh, what kind of interesting things do their eyes witness!

If you would like to see more, follow our scientists on Instagram!

44 small metallic pinktoe (Avicularia metallica) tarantula hatchlings can be found in the University of Tartu Natural History Museum. These are the first ever successfully bred metallic pinktoe tarantulas in Estonia, congrats to Andro Truuverk – the man behind this success! Posted by Kristiina Hommik.

Do scarse-heath butterflies (Coenonympha hero) prefer endophyte rich or endophyte free host plants? University of Turku master’s student Miika Laihonen is conducting experiments in UT lab of entomology with adults and larvae to answer this question. Future perspective holds that if you want to repel or attract herbivores to your field you can choose to use proper endophyte plants. Text and photo by H. Meister, posted by Sille Holm.

No, we are not pulverizing bricks. We heat lake sediment samples from different depths to reconstruct environmental changes thousands of years ago. Posted by Hanna Raig.

Visualizing Geometrid moth genes after polymerase chain reaction on an agarose gel. A complete mess! A situation, that no researcher wants to see! For unknown reasons sometimes not specific genes are amplified as well and we don’t get just the gene we wanted to amplify. Posted by Sille Holm.

Autum slowly arrives and for plant ecoligists office season. Surprises from nature are not missing though. Like this new friendship between a succulent and its supporting pine stick. Posted by Lena Neuenkamp.

Animism is everywhere. Money-producing tree in front of the Komi National Bank. Posted by Art Leete.

A book from 1705 – “Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium” by Maria Sibylla Merian. University of Tartu Library bought one of the copies in the beginning of 1800’s. Nowadays no more than 30 copies of this masterwork are left worldwide and we are lucky enough to have one. In 2017, it will be 300 years since Maria Sibylla Merian passed away and 370 years since her birth. To mark these occasions a calendar with pictures from “Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium” will be released. Andro Truuverk (PhD student in entomology) had the privilege to hold and examine this extraordinary book. Above is shown the illustration of Thysania agrippina – moth with the largest wingspan (~30cm.) of any known Lepidoptera! Posted by Kristiina Hommik.

History has been made at the Institute of Pharmacy, the first 3D printed tablet was prepared. Next steps will move towards the development of novel drug delivery systems… having more realistic size. Posted by Karin Kogermann, photo by L. Viidik.

New challenges ahead – collecting otoliths from three spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) for the project “The stock and ecology of three spined sticleback in Estonian marine areas”. This is not an easy job, steady hands and sharp eyesight is needed. Luckily, Lagle Matetski has all these qualities (+ many more) and scalping the fish ain’t a problem! Photo by Lauri Saks, research fellow in ichtyology. Posted by Kristiina Hommik.

Archaeological pottery use experiment in action: beaver fat serves as excellent fuel for illumination! Posted by Ester Oras.

Lehti Saag, an evolutionary biology PhD student at University of Tartu, is demonstrating how working at an aDNA lab looks like. One has to wear a protective suit to prevent contaminating the sample with their own DNA. For now we are making first independent attempts at aDNA extraction at the lab of kind zoologists but already soon we’ll be opening our own aDNA lab. Photo Mihkel Örd, posted by Anu Solnik.

How to measure plants? First you build a custom-made machine and then you do an experiment with a plant in it. That is how plant biologists at our university have done it. The plant on the photo is called thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana), which is agriculturally considered a weed allover the northern hemisphere, but has been of priceless value in plant genetics. It was the first plant to have its genome sequenced. Photo by Katre Tatrik, posted by Liina Jakobson.

Every Estonian knows at least one word in Hebrew – “bat ja’ana” that occurs in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and “jaanalind” in Estonian mean the same thing: ostrich. Studying ancient texts and languages enriches our mother-tongue. Happy Estonian Mother Tongue Day! Posted by Anu Põldsam.

Testing 3 inch magnetron sputtering plasma gun after a cooling failure. Just kidding, plasma was added for a visual interpretation. I am operating MS system to make thin layers for supercapacitors, fuel cells, and batteries. Posted by Tavo Romann.

Microbiology class with schoolchildren: growing bacteria from school air. Each of these dots represents a bacterial colony (plus some fungi) that has started growing on an agar plate. Classes are organised by Youth Academy of University of Tartu. Posted by Sille Holm.

When looking through a microscope a world of colors appear! This is how a cross-section of a human capillary in the skin looks like through a microscope zoomed in 40 times. Nuclei of the cells look blue and autofluorescence makes skin look green. Posted by Helen Hermann.

Navitrolla? No, wetlands of Middle-earth. It has been estimated that over 90% of the former wetland area in New Zealand has been lost within a century and a half because of intensive agriculture. Remaining small wetlands are easily recognisable in the sunburnt hilly landscape. My aim as a Marie Curie fellow in New Zealand is to map wetlands and estimate how effective are wetlands in removing nutrients originated from agriculture. Posted by Evelyn Uuemaa.

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  • Mahir Gulzar

    Amazing… 😀