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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