As part of my N.O.A.A. Earnest F. Hollings scholarship, I will be conducting an internship under the guidance of Dr. Mark Ladd (N.O.A.A. SEFSC) and Dr. Donald Behringer (UF) to develop hands-on, practical experience in research. The project, titled “Honey I’m home: the relationship between habitat characteristics and intensity of Carcinonemertes conanobrieni on the Caribbean spiny lobster, Panulirus argus“, will combine landscape and parasite ecology in a collaborative manner. While assisting Master’s student Natalie Stephens in Dr. Antonio Baeza’s lab (Clemson) with her project investigating the impact of C. conanobrieni on P. argus fecundity and reproductive health, I will collect field data regarding sampled lobster dens and surrounding habitat characteristics. This data will be assessed with C. conanobrieni intensity among and across individuals to investigate the potential relationship between certain habitat characteristics (eg. dominate structural organism, substratum characteristics, aggregation of female P. argus, etc.) and intensity of C. conanobrieni infection.
Volunteer Research Assistant
While studying away at the University of the Virgin Islands, I have been assisting graduate student Matt Souza with his various projects. His work focuses on the range of invasive seagrass, Halophila stipulacea, and how it effects local invertebrate populations. My contributions include radial and line transect surveys, invertebrate collection/ identification, and experimental design trials for conch predation studies as an AAUS scientific diver. My invertebrate identification skills have improved tremendously while assisting Matt, and my understanding of community interactions among seagrass beds is continuing to expand.
Gas Chromatography Analyst
Part-time employment in Dr. Nick Peng’s lab at U of SC involved analyzing gas chromatography samples of various marine fungi species. The overarching goal was to investigate the output of greenhouse gas (N2O-, CO2, CH4) emission in fungi samples. The data collected provided background information of the marine fungi species to be developed on in future studies. Data will also be used to support grant proposals for Dr. Peng’s research. Other skills learned included inoculation of cultures, inputting data into MATLAB, and GC machine maintenance.
Limnology Independent Project
Designed, conducted, and analyzed results of absorption data of phytoplankton community samples. The samples were the same used in the Phytoplankton Community Experiment (see below). A UV-Spectrophotometer was used to measure absorption of phytoplankton communities in different light treatments and phosphorus levels. The goal was to assess competition among phytoplankton groups in the specified treatments over a 54 day time span using absorption data as well as species identification from PhD candidate Jake Swanson. I will present this project as a poster at the Ecological Society of America conference in Montreal, Canada in August of 2022.
Initial figures of phytoplankton community absorption across light treatments and phosphorus conditions. Left figure displays community absorption in low phosphorus, right figure displays community absorption in high phosphorus.
Phytoplankton Community Experiment
I assisted PhD candidate Jake Swanson with his project focused on phytoplankton community ecology. Water samples from local SC lakes were introduced to light (full, blue, red, green) and phosphorus (high or low) treatments. I assisted with the initial water collection, occasional sampling over the 54 day experiment, and preparing materials for the project.
Fall 2020 – Summer 2021
As a part-time position during school and full-time during the summer, I worked as a lab technician in Dr. Jeffry Dudycha’s lab at U of SC. My general duties included maintenance of water flea populations, filtering lake water, cultivating algae, sterilizing equipment, and various lab maintenance responsibilities.