college laboratory


Coprinus Mushroom

These images show the cross section of a mushroom of the genus Coprinus and under the division Basidiomycota. The first photograph shows the entire cross section of the mushroom. The next two images show a closer look at the mushroom’s gills and dark purple spores.

A Word of Advice

If you’re a science major, or you plan on starting college as a science-y major, I cannot stress how useful this is and how mad I am that I spent the first two years of my college career not doing this.


This will save you so much grief. 

Oftentimes, the professors/lab instructors/GAs will have sample lab reports that you can consult or they’ll at least have a general format they want you to follow for all of the reports you turn in. 

Make that shit into a template - try and format as much of it as you can before you even have to start filling in data for individual experiments.

Almost all of your introductions are going to be a variation of “The purpose of this experiment was…” so many of the statements you make in a report can be generalized to a nice, tidy baseline format. 

So why not have it all pre-packaged and ready to go like a lab report mad lib?

Doing some advanced reading (or highlighting??? haha) for tomorrow’s first Parasitology lecture. I’ve had a brief encounter with parasites from last semester’s Clinical Microscopy during our lectures and lab activities on Fecalysis. I guess I better start getting used to dealing with stool samples twice a week for the next few months to get to know more about these organisms haha.

You know you are a premed when...

*plans to wear something nice like a skirt or shorts to class tomorrow*

*remembers it’s lab day*

*remembers everyday is lab day*



Modified Stems: Cladode

A cladode is a flattened organ arising from the stem of a plant. These often replace the leaves in photosynthetic function, because leaves in these plants are generally reduced. The photo above show a prickly pear cactus whose large paddles are cladodes.

Modified Roots Part:   1     2     3     4     5     6

How I prep labs

This is a methodology I developed over time (and labs!), but I wish I’d had it when I started. 

I use this method to prep all my labs now, but it’s especially useful for labs where the actual procedures are buried in paragraphs of wordy text, or the amounts or nature of reagents need to be changed. This happens to me most often when I’m pulling procedures from journal articles, but I find that even when I have a procedure written for an undergrad lab (i.e., a lab manual), the lab goes much smoother and I’m out faster when I prep it this way.

This preparation method really forces me to think about every single manipulation I’ll need in the lab. It takes me through each piece of glassware I’ll need, each reagent I’ll be taking, and how I can group/overlap steps for maximum efficiency. In some ways, I’m executing the lab once in my head and on pape before I even set foot in the lab.

Disclaimer: I’m a chem student, and I developed this method in and for my chem labs. I will be applying it to my biochem course this semseter and I’ll update if required!

Required: your lab procedure, looseleaf paper or a notebook (NOT your lab book!), and the ability to do research/look up constants/etc. (only rarely will actual literature be required, I usually use the open internet).


1. I read the procedure/article/documentation, trying ot think of what I’ll actually be doing in the lab. This is where I catch any glaring errors/missing units/etc., and get a handle on what exactly I’ll be trying to accomplish. I mentally plan how the lab will flow (do I need the result from A to to B? Can I start A, let it run, and do B in the meantime?). If there are any techniques or concepts with which I’m not confident, I research them now.

2. Go back to the beginning of the procedure and write each actionable step in point form. Each item needed/action taken gets its own line. For example, here is what I prepared for one of my inorganic chemistry labs last semester: 

I start with the glassware everything is going in, then each reagent/piece of equipment gets its own line. I rearranged the preparation of the ice bath to go before the preparation of the reaction, instead of after where it was in the original procedure. I always write steps in the order I’ll be doing them. This is also when I adjust quantities and do any stoichiometry that goes along with that.

Keep reading


Modified Stems: Corm

A corm is an underground plant stem that serves as a storage organ. Corms are sometimes confused with true bulbs. Corms are stems that are internally structured with solid tissues, which distinguishes them from bulbs, which are mostly made up of layered fleshy scales that are modified leaves.

Modified Stems Part:   1     2     3     4     5     6

Modified Stems: Thorn

Thorns are modified branches or stems. Thorns and spines are derived from shoots and leaves respectively, and have vascular bundles inside, whereas prickles (like rose prickles) do not have vascular bundles inside. The tree shown in the picture above is called the honey locust tree, also known as the thorny locust. Just look at those thorns!

Modified Stems Part:   1     2     3     4     5     6


Male Pine Cones

Male pine cones, also called staminate cones, contain spore producing structures called microsporangia. These microsporangia produce microspores, also known as pollen. The microsporangia are located and modified leaf structures called microsporophyll, commonly known as scales.

The first picture shows a cross section of a staminate pine cone, it’s microsporangia, and microspores. The second picture shows a sample staminate pine cone. The third picture shows a closer look at microspores, a.k.a pollen.



A taproot is a large, central, and dominant root from which other roots sprout laterally. Typically a taproot is somewhat straight and very thick, is tapering in shape, and grows directly downward.

The first photo shows a picture of an oak tree taproot and the second photo shows a picture of a holly tree taproot.

Modified Stems: Stolon

Stolons, also called runners, are stems which grow at the soil surface or just below ground that form adventitious roots at the nodes, and new plants from the buds. Plants with stolons are called stoloniferous. A good example of a stoloniferous plant is the strawberry plant. The plant in the photo above is called a spider plant. The stolons in this spider plant do not look so great because they are trying to compete with the parent plant for nutrients.

Modified Stems Part:   1     2     3     4     5     6

Modified Stems: Tubers

Tubers are modified stems that are used for plant storage. Tubers form from thickened rhizomes or stolons. This picture shows two common tubers, yams and potatoes.

Modified Stems Part:   1     2     3     4     5     6