Researching Ocean Acidification amidst a global pandemic

Researching Ocean Acidification amidst a global pandemic

For most of my high school and early college experience, marine biology was something that greatly sparked my interest. I went into college pursuing a major in marine biology. However, over time I found a passion for chemistry and molecular biology, which later drove me to change my major to cell and molecular biology. Though I made this change, my admiration for marine science remains. In this internship, I got to channel my passion for molecular biology and channel it towards thinking about ocean acidification and its effects on energy allocation in the cells of calcifying organisms. 

Working alongside my lab mentors, Aaron Ninokawa and Alisha Saley, and two other interns, Lena and Inder, we collaborated on remote research (reading scientific papers, data extraction, etc.) on ocean acidification (OA) and seawater freshening, and how this has shifted the ocean’s carbonate system, and in turn physiologically affected calcifying organisms such as mussels, oysters, and snails. 


Katarina Rivinius
A typical day of remote intern work shows Katarina in the comfort of her bed, reading and annotating articles and extracting data. She uses blue light glasses to protect her eyes from hours of staring at the screen. Photo by: Katarina Rivinius

Back in February, I was working with Aaron Ninowaka and Kristen Elsmore at the Bodega Marine Lab, assisting them with some of their lab experiments and side projects. Other than that, I had never done any kind of official internship work before. This internship has granted me new skills and has turned my weaknesses into strengths. I learned how to perform data extraction for meta-analysis, I am a stronger scientific thinker and reader, and I feel more confident in my early position as a scientist. I can thank that to the research itself, as well as the weekly professional development meetings in which we were offered advice on navigating the journey through the scientific world. 

This internship was different than it would have been if we weren’t experiencing these crazy coronavirus times. I am forever grateful to the graduate students and workers of the Bodega Marine Lab who worked hard to make the program proceed. 

Biography: Katarina Rivinius took part in the 2020 SRJC-BML summer internship. She is a student at the SRJC and has plans for transfer in Fall 2022, pursuing a major in Cell and Molecular biology. In the long term, she hopes to go to graduate school and pursue a career in academia.

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