Education

Blog Post: Deep Sea Coral, Phytoplankton, and the Changing Ocean

Lindsay Rodgers, using cryogenic distillation to remove water molecules from carbon dioxide in a vacuum line at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. PC: Carina Fish
Lindsay Rodgers, using cryogenic distillation to remove water molecules from carbon dioxide in a vacuum line at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. PC: Carina Fish

By Lindsay Rogers

Lindsay Rodgers is a 2019 Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates student in the Hill Ocean Climate Lab at UC Davis-Bodega Marine Laboratory. She is a microbiology major at Santa Rosa Junior College, and is planning to transfer next year in order to pursue environmental microbiology for broader impact applications.

Over the past nine weeks, I have had the opportunity to dive into the world of paleoceanography, specifically to learn how deep sea corals are able to provide a record of the ocean climate that they grew in. Similar to tree rings, deep sea coral skeleton grow annual rings, each of which is composed of the nutrient material it absorbed during that year of its life. In order to obtain this ocean climate information, the coral skeleton nodes are carefully peeled apart, layer by layer. The peels are then analyzed for elemental content, including radiocarbon, which is a radioactive isotope that was present in higher amounts during the 1950s and 60s, following nuclear bomb testing. Tracing radiocarbon content in a coral’s peels allow the specimen to be placed on a chronological timeline, and thus provide ocean climate information about the derived timeline that it lived. For my independent project, I am using carbon and nitrogen isotope signatures to compare deep sea coral polyp tissue, and the outermost (youngest) nodal peel with its food source, plankton, to see how these ratios are translated within a deep sea coral’s anatomy, as well as how they are affected between trophic levels. ​

Lindsay Rogers and Carina Fish. PC: Gabriel Ng
Lindsay Rogers and Carina Fish. PC: Gabriel Ng

My mentor, PhD candidate Carina Fish, encouraged me to take advantage of the various learning opportunities available at the UC Davis’ Bodega Marine Lab (including attending weekly seminars from scientists all over the world and informal lunches with lecture guests) and initiated connections with researchers in other labs so that I could learn new techniques and explore other branches of marine science. She made my experience here positively packed with learning, both intellectual and practical. Overall, I feel extremely honored to have been a part of the BML this summer, because among the wonderful and ambitious scientists, staff, and students, lives a community that feeds on curiosity, creativity, and problem-solving. Working in this collaborative environment made me certain that I want to continue pursuing research and involvement in the scientific community.

Lindsay Rodgers, placing graphitized coral samples into a mass spectrometer at the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry in Livermore, CA. PC: Carina Fish
Lindsay Rodgers, placing graphitized coral samples into a mass spectrometer at the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry in Livermore, CA. PC: Carina Fish

 

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The Importance of Natural History and Experimental Design: a Summer in Tomales Bay

Daniel Lopez and Ben Rubinoff. PC: Gabriel Ng
Daniel Lopez and Ben Rubinoff. PC: Gabriel Ng

By Daniel Lopez

Daniel Lopez is a fourth year Santa Rosa Junior College student applying for transfer this Fall. He worked with Ben Rubinoff in the Grosholz Lab.

From visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium, to going out to the coast as a kid, I have always had an interest in marine biology. There is so much that isn’t known about the ocean, and up until this point, I had never really gotten an in depth experience on how research is performed in this field. Due to my interests and desire for more experience, I saw this internship through the Santa Rosa Junior College and  I immediately gravitated toward it. I wanted to get a better understanding of what it would be like working in research, especially in the field.

I worked with Ben on research investigating how abiotic and biotic factors affect fouling community composition across an estuarine gradient. In assisting Ben with this experiment, I learned just how important it is to study and understand these communities. Some fouling species  live on eelgrass blades, which can then weigh the plant down and restrict access to sunlight. This could be detrimental to the whole ecosystem!

I helped to build the cages for the experiment and set them up in three locations in Tomales Bay. For the next several weeks we maintained the cages and conducted eelgrass surveys along each site to monitor eelgrass health and to see what kind of fouling species there might be at each site. Working with Ben has helped me to get a feel for what it is like doing field work. I learned just how many factors you have to take into account when conducting an experiment and also the preparations needed before starting it. For example, you need to make sure you have the right permits, know the tidal schedule, know what the site looks like, and make sure you have all the necessary equipment.  I also learned about how to bridge the gap between data collected in the field, what it represents, and how to interpret it. This involved learning how to efficiently organize raw data so that it can be easily interpreted by others. Overall I am thankful to have had this opportunity and to be a part of this program. The experience and skills that I gained this summer will prepare me for future research opportunities and a career in marine science. 

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Blog Post: A Summer by the Bay

Analyzing glass slides with limpet secretions for my research project. PC: Alisha Saley
Analyzing glass slides with limpet secretions for my research project. PC: Alisha Saley

By Lena Ballard

Lena Ballard was an intern in the 2019 SRJC-BML Summer Internship Program. She worked with Alisha Saley. Lena has now transferred to Dominican University of California.

My summer project consisted of semi-independent research work observing and documenting various anti-predator responses of prey species Lottia pelta, the shield limpet, to the dominant predatory ochre sea star, Pisaster ochraceus. Changes resulting from to OA, a chemical perturbation due to increased anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere, have the ability to alter predator-prey dynamics, such that the checks and balances within the intertidal ecosystem disrupt the overall community. Thus, I asked how select documented anti-predator responses may fair under future ocean conditions and whether or not ocean acidification (OA) disrupts this specific predator-prey interaction, potentially increasing predation risk to a crucial intertidal grazer (limpet).

Lena presenting her research at the End of the Summer Banquet. PC: Gabriel Ng
Lena presenting her research at the End of the Summer Banquet. PC: Gabriel Ng

Q: What have been some of the highlights and biggest learning experiences from your summer at BML?

Out of all of the priceless memories and lessons learned from my time at the lab, my favorites were with my mentor, Alisha. Yes, we always found highlights while spending peaceful mornings submerged shin-deep in tide pools observing, identifying and collecting my study species, Lottia pelta (the shield limpet). Even the common rogue wave splashing in and down our ripped boots and soaked tennis shoes didn’t dampen the excitement of exploring a new semi-submerged world. Although these “sunny” memories taught me a lot about the rocky intertidal ecosystem, the most impactful experience occurred on a much “foggier” occasion.   

It was the middle of the summer, about 3 weeks into my 10 week internship at the lab. Thus far, I had tried multiple pilot projects aimed at documenting the diverse anti-predator responses of L. pelta to chemical cue from Pisaster ochraceus, the ochre sea star, and found weak hints of similarities among individuals. Then one day I observed that when exposed to sea star cue in groups, individuals tend to aggregate together in colonies. It was my first true ah ha moment that I felt warranted further exploration; “I can’t wait to share my findings with Alisha”, I thought. After constructing an experiment I began running trials to test my hypothesis  and was very hopeful. However, by the end of the first day of trials it was unclear whether or not the aggregation response I had once confidently observed was just a coincidence in their movement behavior. I was devastated; had I just failed? Therefore, I immediately went through my methods, observations, and literature searching for where I had gone astray. I knew there must have been somewhere I made a mistake and I just couldn’t figure out where. I felt like a failure. 

Lena and her mentor, Alisha Saley. PC: Gabriel Ng
Lena and her mentor, Alisha Saley. PC: Gabriel Ng

This low point took a turn when I expressed my disappointment to my mentor and she reassured me that I had done nothing wrong- sometimes things just don’t turn out the way we expected and it doesn’t have anything to do with us; it is just scientific process and that is why we replicate our observations--to increase confidence in whatever we observe over multiple trials. It turns out that it shouldn’t be considered failure when we observe trends that don’t support our hypothesis because the knowledge and experience gained are still valuable and worthwhile.  Developing my observational abilities, being able to formulate a hypothesis, constructing an experiment, efficiently conducting literature searches- all of these skills, whether or not I was able to “fail to reject my null hypothesis”, will continue to aid in what comes next.

So instead of continuing to scrutinize myself, I got back to work. I was encouraged to sit back and think about the pilot for a few days. Had the limpets done something else when touched with a sea star tube foot? How could these responses be ecologically relevant for their survival in the intertidal? It wasn’t long after I had a new pilot. Akin to exploring in the intertidal, just because an unexpected wave soaks you from head to toe doesn’t mean you’ve failed. You just have to be patient for the wave to subside, look around to find a new path, and remember what has happened to be prepared for the next one.

In summary, this experience taught me something that I will hold onto for a lifetime. You aren’t defined by “failure”- what defines you is how you deal with it.  With any obstacle you must embrace the lesson learned and possess unwavering tenacity

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Blog Post: An Adventurous, Eye-Opening Summer Internship at UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab

Nayeli Echeverria Collecting sea grass samples. PC: Isabelle Neylan
Nayeli Echeverria Collecting sea grass samples. PC: Isabelle Neylan

By Nayeli Echeverria

Nayeli Echeverria is going into her third year at Santa Rosa Junior College and will be transferring to UC Davis in the near future. This summer, she worked with a mentor, Isabelle Neylan, in the Stachowicz Lab at UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab.

The purpose of Isabelle Neylan’s study was to observe behavioral and morphological changes in Nucella lamellosa snails in response to the threat of predation. We measured six shell morphology traits of each individual snail before and after the exposure and conducted behavioral assays weekly throughout the exposure period. This study helps understand how prey organisms may prioritize slower physical versus faster behavioral responses when protecting themselves against predators.

Overall, I enjoyed every minute I spent at BML because everything was an adventure. I think one of the most exciting things I learned while working with Isabelle was when the data suggested that the snails exposed to no predators and no food also thicken their shells through a cheaper material. I found this to be surprising because it is amazing what animals are able to do when protecting themselves even in scarcity of food, I would have predicted otherwise. Another highlight of mine was when Isabelle went out of her way to set up a fieldwork day with two other Stachowicz lab members Katie Dubois and Collin Gross. This gave me the opportunity to see a different side of research. I was taught to use a transect, which I found out is a primary, valuable task in marine research. We went to Tomales Bay and collected samples of seagrass. Collin then allowed me to assist him in his fieldwork, where we seined and measured the sizes of the different fish as he recorded the data. It was so awesome to be in the water and get some hands-on fieldwork! First time I ever saw a sea grape! Isabelle Neylan has been an astonishing mentor to me and never failed to continue to support and excite me during my time at BML. She even assisted me in writing an abstract of my own so that I could be able to attend a STEM conference in Hawaii and present the research I assisted her with this summer. One of my biggest highlights was receiving a great mentor because who you work with matters, and I believe my mentor is one of the best!

I am more than grateful to have received this opportunity. I was able to measure 428 snail shells using calipers, assist in collecting data on snail behaviors, and input data into excel. Not only that, but Isabelle explained what the data collected suggested, which helped me understand the purpose of the study and how the work we put in comes together. I was also able to work with teams, both in the lab and out in the field. I know the new skills I have obtained will make me a valuable, experienced candidate for future research opportunities, all thanks to BML and the fantastic, supportive mentors.​​

Nayeli Echeverria assisting Graduate Student Isabelle Neylan count the baby snail eggs. PC: Isabelle Neylan
Nayeli Echeverria assisting Graduate Student Isabelle Neylan count the baby snail eggs. PC: Isabelle Neylan
Nayeli Echeverria using a transect. PC: Isabelle Neylan
Nayeli Echeverria using a transect. PC: Isabelle Neylan
Isabelle Neylan and Nayeli Echeverria. PC: Gabriel Ng
Isabelle Neylan and Nayeli Echeverria. PC: Gabriel Ng

 

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Blog Post: Hold On, We're Going Fishing

E. Hernandez

By Eduardo Hernandez 

Eduardo will be transferring to San Francisco State University for Fall 2019 to pursue a Bachelors of Science degree in Microbiology. This summer, he spent his internship working in the Morgan Lab with Helen Killeen and Sadie Small.    

As an undergraduate student, I came to the Bodega Marine Laboratory eager to learn and contribute to any project. When I got the notification that I would have the opportunity to be an intern for the summer at BML, I was extremely excited. As I learned about animals and marine biology in my community college, I wanted to expand my knowledge in studies involved with marine animals, conservation, and ecology. This internship program had given me the chance to put my skills to the test. I had the pleasure of being mentored by Helen Killeen and Sadie Small in the Morgan lab. The study that I conducted was on the impacts of surface wind stress on fish larvae distribution.  I spent the summer looking at various samples from the night cruises that my mentors had collected over the past year. By looking through the dissecting microscope and seeing various types of invertebrates, crustaceans, and fish larvae was remarkably fascinating to me. I also learned about other different marine species, lab techniques, and data from conducting this type of study.

photo E. Hernandez
CCFRP photo with science crew showing a baby lingcod fish
E. Hernandez
Examples of fish larvae found from samples in the study
E. Hernandez
Eduardo looking at fish samples under the microscope

 

Furthermore, I also had the chance to contribute to the California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program (CCFRP), which conducts a tag and release fishing with volunteer anglers to evaluate the effects of marine protected areas on populations of fish species along the entire California coast. It was a unique and unforgettable experience to be on a boat with my science crew and anglers. We caught various types of fish, identified, tagged, and released the fish to the ocean. I learned how marine biologists work on a research vessel and operate sampling and underwater equipment. Being part of a program such as this helped me to meet new people and build connections within a scientific community. For this internship opportunity, I am forever thankful and motivated to pursue my career goals.

Giovanna Poulos, Jospeh Lozano, Eduardo Hernandez (interns) and Helen Killeen (mentor). Right: CCFRP photo with volunteer angler and Eduardo showing a lingcod fish.
Giovanna Poulos, Jospeh Lozano, Eduardo Hernandez (interns) and Helen Killeen (mentor). 
CCFRP photo with volunteer angler and Eduardo showing a lingcod fish.
CCFRP photo with volunteer angler and Eduardo showing a lingcod fish. 

 

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Blog Post: Understanding the Importance of Animal Behavior in Science

Aplysia, also known as sea hares, eating sea ulva. PC: Ashley Smart
“Sharing is Caring”. Aplysia, also known as sea hares, eating sea ulva. PC: Ashley Smart

By Yangjum Sherpa 

My name is Yangjum Sherpa and I am a third year student at SRJC. My major is Biology and I am interested in the field of Neuroscience. It is difficult to find an internship however, I was very lucky to intern at UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab (BML). I was mentored by Ashley Smart, who is currently a PHD student. It was a wonderful experience to learn science with a friendly and down to earth mentor at a marine laboratory surrounded by breathtaking ocean view. After taking Bio 2.2 (Animal Biology) class, I was fascinated by different behaviors of animals based on their surroundings. When my professor announced the internship opportunity, I did not hesitate to apply. Reflecting back, I am glad I applied.

Ashley’s research is focused on Aplysia, cute sea slugs which can grow as large as 6.8 kg. The experiment was about how the ocean acidification is affecting the Aplysia’s response to different stimuli, for example food or other chemicals. Before the actual experiment, Ashley provided literature papers that covered knowledge about Aplysia and also about ocean acidification (OA). I also performed ethology and collected data on their behavior. I observed the Aplysia for over two hours and I should say that watching these creatures was one of the most pleasurable feelings (like an ASMR). Afterwards, I assisted Ashley with the experiment and learned about how an experiment is designed and processed. We had a total of twelve Aplysia, which were divided into six so that the experiment can be repeated twice and were exposed to ambient and OA habitat. Aplysia are known to be a fascinating research animal as they have evolved unique chemical defenses against predators. Food, Ink and Seawater were used as a form of stimuli and their behavior towards these stimuli were recorded for future behavior analysis. Since I am also interested in Neuroscience, it was very interesting to know that these creatures were used as models to learn about memory and learning because of their simple nervous system. Fun fact that the study of Aplysia for understanding how an organism’s neural behavior functions has led to the 2000 Nobel prize in medicine being co-awarded to Eric Kendel. Overall, one of the biggest learning experiences from my summer at BML was understanding about what a PHD degree meant as through these experiments, I was also shadowing my mentor. It gave me a good idea about what pursuing a PHD degree meant. I am very glad that I got this opportunity because I have learned many skills that will help me in my future endeavors. Lastly, I would like to thank my mentor and other BML representative who helped make this internship possible.

Yangjum Sherpa collecting some Sea Ulva for the sea hares. PC: Ashley Smart
Yangjum Sherpa collecting some Sea Ulva for the sea hares. PC: Ashley Smart
PC: Ashley Smart
PC: Ashley Smart
Me weighing these cute little sea hares. PC: Ashley Smart
Me weighing these cute little sea hares. PC: Ashley Smart

 

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Blog Post: Salty and Soggy: Understanding the role of crabs in California salt marshes

Blake searching through the salt marsh in Bodega Bay for the lined shore crab (Pachygrapsus crassipes). PC: Jan Walker
Blake searching through the salt marsh in Bodega Bay for the lined shore crab (Pachygrapsus crassipes). PC: Jan Walker

By Blake Nogleberg

My name is Blake Nogleberg and I am a fourth year SRJC student looking to pursue a career in the marine sciences. I worked alongside Graduate Student Jan Walker this summer.

As a kid I grew up only a short drive away from the Bodega Marine Lab (BML), and I was always intensely interested in what kind of work went on in this facility. So when the opportunity arose this summer to intern here, I did not hesitate to apply. My time at BML has been an amazing experience. I was able to work with and learn from some extremely talented scientists, help maintain field experiments in the salt marshes of Bolinas Lagoon, Tomales Bay, and Bodega Bay, as well as help conduct several laboratory experiments at BML. My mentor was Jan Walker, a PhD student from the Grosholz lab, and we examined the impact of the lined shore crab (Pachygrapsus crassipes) on the salt marsh plant community. Understanding the role of crabs in determining plant community composition is important when considering management strategies of foundational marsh species, such as cordgrass. Cordgrass has been targeted for management and restoration due to its amplitude of ecosystem services, such as sediment accretion, flood attenuation, and habitat for endangered species. We hypothesize that these crabs could impact the plant community by consuming dominant salt marsh plants (cordgrass and pickleweed), and by creating burrows in the marsh sediment, thereby changing sediment properties crucial for plant health (salinity, oxygen concentrations, etc.). Crabs may play a critical role in meditating stress for plants and, by understanding their role, we can better inform and bolster management and restoration in our northern California wetlands.

The field work portion was quite enjoyable. I spent most of the time chasing our crab friends and attempting to catch them without being pinched, their feisty attitude continually surprising me. There was a learning curve when it came to walking through the salt marsh, however I became proficient in navigating the spongy, quick sand-like landscape without swamping my boots or falling too many times. We woke up before the sun to catch the low tide, and we worked efficiently to collect data (and crabs) to make it back out of the marsh before high tide.

The lab work we did was interesting and engaging. I helped Jan setup two different feeding experiments to determine exactly what plants, and what part of the plant (roots or leaves), the crabs preferred. This portion of the internship allowed me to ask countless questions about our experiment, and the setup and execution of lab experiments in general. Additionally, I was able to get professional advice on how to navigate the unfamiliar territory of academia. It was infinitely valuable to be a part of Jan’s work, and the skills and knowledge I acquired over the summer have set me up to succeed in the next stages of academic life. I hope to use my experience here to further pursue a career in marine science.

 

Blake

 

Blake field site

 

Blake at BML

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Blog Post: Into the Velvet Jungle

Tyler and Suzanne
Tyler and Suzanne

By Tyler Schatto

Tyler Schatto is a student at Santa Rosa Junior College. He was mentored this summer by Luis Morales and Suzanne Olyarnik.

TylerIn 2019, Bodega Marine Reserve was my summer hangout spot. With my mentor, Luis A. Morales, Steward for BMR, I conducted field surveys, implemented and updated signage, and  utilized a selection of plant management techniques to reduce invasive species populations. Along the way, I learned several identification markers for coastal prairie plant and bird species, I learned how to work safely in rugged environments and now, I have a better understanding of land management techniques to restore native habitat and implement ecological enhancement projects.    

At BMR, conservation of native flora biodiversity is a primary focus. Velvet Grass (Holcus lanatus) is the greatest threat to native plant species here, wholly overtaking great swaths of native coastal prairie. Luis and the team at BMR are testing a method to reduce Velvet Grass populations by mowing two times per year instead of just once. The BMR team hypothesizes that the grass puts a large portion of its energy into growing its flowers, and that a second annual mow occuring after flowers have regrown and matured will lead to greater percentages of Velvet Grass dieoff. I was able to participate in the experiment by both mowing and observing test plots. Additionally hoeing and hand pulling in areas where the Velvet grass has the potential to spread quickly. 

thistle removalOther plant populations we managed included Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) by the bluffs, Rabbits Foot (Lagurus ovatum) and Rattlesnake Grass (Briza Maxima) in the coastal prairie, and spurge (Euphorbia lathyris) in the dunes and marshes, which each require their own specialized approach and adaptive land management technique.

From a wider perspective, my time was focused on learning many of the themes and overarching approaches used in natural land management. BMR uses adaptive management, a concept focused on the reactive reworking and adjusting of land management plans to cater to changes in the local environment.     

As such, the BMR Team and I met frequently, evaluating the state of the reserve and adjusting priorities. For example, after one land survey, we found a choke point where Velvet Grass was likely to spread rapidly into an area of pristine native coastal prairie. We were able to adapt our plans to focus on that area, hand pulling several of the most dangerous plants and spreading mulch to create a barrier beyond which the Velvet Grass will not spread.

Tyler and snakeAnother amazing opportunity I experienced was a nature hike through the saltwater marsh, led by former BMR director Peter. He showed a group of us almost every single plant, native or otherwise, that lives in the saltwater marsh along Bodega Bay. He has been leading these nature hikes for several years, and he and the BMR crew are able to talk about fluctuations in plant populations. There were several native plant populations that have rebounded surprisingly well - in one case, a plant population had increased from less than 10 individuals the previous year to well over 100 individuals at the time of our hike. Peter was able to show me the anatomical markers botanists utilize most often to identify and distinguish different plant species, which I was able to use directly in the field during surveys. My observations in the saltwater marsh helped me to think about the reserve as several smaller ecosystems, interconnected with complex relationships.

The SRJC-BML mentorship/internship program is valuable to anyone who is interested in life sciences, land management, or the sciences in general. It provides networking opportunities, career path guidance, and a very valuable perspective into the professional and academic sciences that is hard to acquire in a classroom, especially at a non-research-based community college. The people I met were unique and amazing individuals who showed a real interest in me, and the experiences I had, I will cherish forever. Few people are privileged with an opportunity to immerse themselves in a career before starting it, and this internship provided that for me.

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Blog Post: Chemistry in a Marine World

PC: Gabriel Ng
PC: Gabriel Ng

By Daphne Bradley

Daphne Bradley is a second year at the Santa Rosa Junior College and is pursuing a degree in chemistry. This summer she worked with Sarah Merolla, the lab technician for the Bodega Ocean Acidification Research group. During her time at BML she collaborated on several projects related with seagrasses, mussels, and oysters.

I first began my journey at the UC-Davis Bodega Marine Lab through a class assignment at the SRJC. I contacted Kitty Brown, the Lab Manager of the Bodega Marine Lab, to setup a day for me to shadow someone using chemistry for real world applications. I was then placed in contact with Sarah Merolla, the lab manager and researcher for the Bodega Ocean Acidification Research (BOAR) program. On my shadow day, Sarah showed me multiple research projects that were all unique, inspiring, and innovative. There was so much to learn and write about that I was inspired to come back and learn more through the SRJC-BML internship program.

This summer at the UC-Davis Bodega Marine Lab, I had the opportunity to work with many passionate people and great thinkers, while gaining a lot of experience along the way. I wanted to gain hands-on experience of applying chemistry to projects and research outside of the classroom. My mentor, Sarah, introduced me to many people and projects that focused on advancing the scientific community with an extremely positive outlook. 

By helping with many research projects that take place at the lab, I learned to utilize equipment including a spectrophotometer and robotic titrator to study ocean acidification, and gained experience with common lab methods and practices. Additionally, I had the opportunity to work with Sarah on her research project that investigates whether seagrass can enhance oyster calcification by modifying the chemistry of seawater. The methods that are used to undergo such research are more intensive than I had expected from reading research projects in school. From planning the oysters’ diets to ensuring they all experience similar conditions during the experiment incubations, it was all detail-oriented and thought out. Through my time at the BML I have gained a lot of experience working in a lab, which I believe will help me in the future. 

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Daphne helping Sarah with her research project that uses chamber incubations and changes in total alkalinity to study the relationship between oysters and seagrass. PC: Sarah Merolla
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PC: Sarah Merolla
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Daphne using the spectrophotometer to analyze water samples taken at Bodega Bay, Tomales Bay, and the Hog Island Oyster Company. PC: Sarah Merolla
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Daphne collecting water samples to be later analyzed for pH and alkalinity, which will be part of a decade-long dataset examining changes in coastal seawater conditions over time. PC: Sarah Merolla

 

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Blog Post: SRJC-BML Internship Program 2019

Group
Summer 2019 SRJC-BML Interns and Mentors. Photo credit Gabriel Ng

By Hannah Palmer and Katie Dubois. Hannah and Katie are PhD Candidates at UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory and are the co-directors of the SRJC-BML Internship Program for 2019.

Congratulations to all interns and mentors of the 2019 SRJC-BML Internship Program! Our summer was full of field work, lab studies, professional development, mentorship, and science! This was the fourth year of the SRJC-BML Internship Program and the first year that we were able to award stipends to some of our interns. This year, we hosted 15 interns in the program ranging in levels of participation from one day-per week to full time. Interns and mentors worked on a range of projects including: chemical linkage between plankton and deep-sea corals, defense mechanisms of marine invertebrates under predation, ocean engineering of underwater moorings, quantifying ecological interactions in seagrass and salt marsh habitats, impacts of copper toxicity on marine organisms, invasive species ecology in Tomales Bay,  and understanding the links between plankton and physical oceanography. We brought together the entire group for a Professional Development Workshop during which interns learned how to leverage this internship opportunity to pursue their individual career goals. We finished the summer with a banquet for all students and mentors at which each intern and mentor shared something about their summer experience. We are grateful to all of the support we received this year and we are so proud of all of the interns and mentors for a great summer of marine science! We are already looking forward to the SRJC-BML Internship Program in 2020! Check back soon for blog posts by each intern to hear about their unique summer internship experiences!

PC: Ashley Smart
PC: Ashley Smart
PC: Gabriel Ng
PC: Gabriel Ng
PC: Carina Fish
PC: Carina Fish
C: Gabriel Ng
PC: Gabriel Ng
PC: Jan Walker
PC: Jan Walker
PC: Gabriel Ng
PC: Gabriel Ng
PC: Alisha Saley
PC: Alisha Saley
PC: Katie Dubois
PC: Katie Dubois
PC: Gabriel Ng
PC: Gabriel Ng

 

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Blog Post: Making Waves

You had me at "hello": Marlynn Rollins (right) introduced HBCU peers to a bat star during a 2018 visit. Marlynn (Howard University, Class of 2019) will join UC Davis' Graduate Group in Ecology, the Gaylord lab, and Sustainable Oceans NRT in Fall 2019.
You had me at "hello": Marlynn Rollins (right) introduced HBCU peers to a bat star during a 2018 visit. Marlynn (Howard University, Class of 2019) will join UC Davis' Graduate Group in Ecology, the Gaylord lab, and Sustainable Oceans NRT in Fall 2019.

Every summer since 2012, students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have conducted research at UC Davis as part of the UC-HBCU Initiative. And every summer, Rick Grosberg, Professor and Director of the Coastal and Marine Science Institute, and I have taken a group of these and other summer research students to the Bodega Marine Laboratory. Rick and I both got bitten by the research bug at marine labs and relish sharing something of that experience with our students. And we get to enjoy a day on the coast out of the summer heat. 

For many students, this trip provides their first encounter with living intertidal organisms, marine systems, and the Pacific Ocean.

After a walk along the bluffs -- punctuated by many photo ops -- led by Reserve Director Suzanne Olyarnik, Speakman Smith (Howard University) commented, "I felt as if I was on the edge of the world." 

The rocky intertidal at Bodega Marine Lab. Photo credit: Jaylen Parks/Tuskegee University.
The rocky intertidal at Bodega Marine Lab. Photo credit: Jaylen Parks/Tuskegee University. 

 

During the visit, students learned about marine and coastal ecosystems, upwelling, potential climate change effects, and ongoing research at BML. Plant ecologist Arquel Miller (Howard University) remarked, "I never knew about the existence of white abalone, let alone their endangered status. I found it fascinating to learn of the human impacts on this species and what Kristin and her team are doing..."

white abalone
BML researcher Kristin Aquilino introduced HBCU and CSU Northridge students to the white abalone restoration program.
The recent mussel die-off provided Rick with a teaching moment.
The recent mussel die-off provided Rick with a teaching moment.

Did a day at BML convince the plant scientistschemists, and molecular biologists on this year's field trip to jump to marine science? Probably not. But because of their experience with this very special place, they'll be better informed citizens and potential supporters of coastal and marine systems.

This year's group, from Howard University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Tuskegee University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Fort Valley State University, Florida A&M University, and CSU Northridge, with me, Rick, and current GGE grad student Fred Nelson (Howard University, Class of 2017)
This year's group, from Howard University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Tuskegee University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Fort Valley State University, Florida A&M University, and CSU Northridge, with me, Rick, and current GGE grad student Fred Nelson (Howard University, Class of 2017)

 

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