I'm a graduate student who's currently working on an experiment involving some animals. I have two separate places where I keep my animals, and one of them is in a locked section of a lab (which is only accessible by myself, my PI, and a few other investigators).
A few weeks ago when I came into the lab, I noticed that all of the animals in that locked section had died. Without going into too much detail, after a quick investigation I found that a gas valve must have been opened to kill the animals, and then closed again. It is impossible for the valve to open spontaneously, let alone open and close. I also determined that it couldn't have been a gas leak because I have a habit of always setting the valve to a certain position after closing it, and it wasn't exactly in that position when I checked it, so it must have been physically moved.
I thought that maybe the stars unfortunately aligned and I had gone wrong somewhere for this to occur, so I left it alone and kept it to myself but have been careful to check the valve everyday afterward.
A few days ago, the animals were dead once again. The valve had also been moved. Although I don't have concrete evidence, I'm strongly suspecting that either my PI (who I don't have the best relationship with) or another investigator in the lab is deliberately killing the animals. I don't know what to do now, who to approach, and what to say. My entire experiment is now also in jeopardy. What steps do I take?
Clarifications / responses to comments:
- The "animals" are insects, so "animal care regulations" are limited
- No one has commented on the deaths. My section of the lab is rarely used, so they may not have noticed.
- There are no security cameras.