Monday, August 3, 2015

Summer Interns Part 2

Welcome back to our BIOS Research Blog. We are excited to introduce four more of our summer interns: Konadu, Kevin, Hannah, and Jenny.

The Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) offers internship opportunities to both undergraduate and recent graduate students.  Internships may run for 8, 10 or 12 weeks in the summer, with flexible timing and duration.  BIOS interns can expect to work in BIOS laboratories with faculty and staff mentors,  participating in active research projects of mutual interest. A BIOS intern could have the opportunity to participate in an open-ocean research cruise aboard the R/V Atlantic Explorer, SCUBA dive on Bermuda’s coral reefs, learn progressive techniques from scientists at the forefront of their field, gain hands-on experience with cutting-edge laboratory equipment, and engage in workshops and seminars with peers and BIOS staff.

Meet Konadu

Konadu is a Public Policy major minoring in Environmental Studies at Princeton University. This summer she is working in the lab with Dr. Eric Hochberg on land-ocean nutrient flux and joins BIOS as a Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) intern.

1.  How would you describe the project you have worked on at BIOS?
In Bermuda, there are freshwater aquifers at sea level called freshwater lenses, and these lenses discharge freshwater all along the coastline into coastal waters These lenses are created and recharged by rainwater that percolates down through the ground and picks up nutrients. In a place like Bermuda, there are cesspits where waste is inserted directly into the ground.  This means there are added nutrients going into the freshwater lens. For my project, I’m studying how much and how fast these nutrients are coming into coastal waters through groundwater discharge. 

2.  If you could sum up your internship in two words, what would they be and why?
Fun-because I genuinely had a good time while here, both while working and in my free time
Surprising- I think I surprised myself by going further outside of my comfort zone than I expected.

Meet Kevin

Kevin is a fourth year Environmental Science major at Carleton University in Canada. This is Kevin’s second year interning at BIOS; last year Kevin worked with Dr. Samantha De Putron as a Canadian Associates of BIOS (CABIOS) intern, and this year he is working with Dr. Gretchen Goodbody-Gringley as a Volunteer Intern. In addition to his internship, Kevin is also enrolled in BIOS’s summer university course, Coral Reef Ecology, which starts on August 3rd.

1.  How would you describe the projects you have worked on at BIOS?
Last year I worked in the coral reproduction and recruitment lab analyzing how well corals can reproduce.  My project involved taking corals from nearby patch reefs, and corals from the outer rim reef from the Bermuda platform to see differences in reproductive fitness.  I looked at how juvenile corals grew under various temperature and light conditions to see how corals from different zones adapted to temperature and light variations.  This summer I am working with Gretchen to test a hypothesis that deep-sea corals can repopulate shallow water corals after disturbances, like storms or ships, hit a reef.  To do this, I am transferring corals from deep and shallow waters and putting them on the reciprocal reef to see if they survive. 

2.  Has your time thus far at BIOS changed your thoughts on what you might want to do in the future?

My time at BIOS has changed my previous views on what scientific path I want to pursue. Before BIOS, I wanted to do environmental impact assessments, but now, after doing research at BIOS, I have decided I actually want to get my PhD and do research. 

Meet Hannah

Meet Hannah.  This is Hannah’s second summer at BIOS; last year she took the Coral Reef Ecology course, and this year she is interning under Dr. Gretchen Goodbody-Gringley to conduct thesis research for her Masters degree program at Clark University.  Hannah is investigating how the species of algae inside the mustard hill coral (Porites astreoides) change throughout development and when transplanted to different depths.

1.  What do you hope to gain or learn from your internship?
I hope to gather quality data for my thesis, and even though I’m still in the beginning stages of my project, I have already begun collecting useful data.  I also hope to learn more about rearing baby corals and working with them because I don’t have that opportunity in my university courses. 

2.  If you could sum up your internship in one word what would it be and why?
Humbling because I’m grateful to be at one of the leading oceanographic research institutions in the world. 

And meet Jenny

Jenny is a Public Policy major at Princeton University, and joins BIOS as a Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) intern. She came to BIOS because she wanted to better understand some of the science behind policy making. This summer she is working with Tim Noyes and investigating the mesophotic zone, an understudied coral reef zone.

1.  How would you describe the project you have worked on at BIOS?
We’re using baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS) in order to study the mesophotic zone in Bermuda’s coral reef ecosystems.  My specific project is looking at fisheries-targeted species in Bermuda as well as lionfish and the gold faced toby.  We will be using a Global Information System (GIS) and R, a statistical modeling software, to establish spatial correlations between the fishes’ distribution within the mesophotic zone and the presence of other fish communities.

2.  When you think about your internship here, what is a memorable experience that comes to mind?
I think about when we were in the middle of the ocean, and all you could see were a few buoys floating around, and for one of the first times in my life, I understood how doing scientific research can be beautiful, but also really scary.  In our case, under Tim, we were some of the first people in Bermuda to drop cameras hundreds of meters below the surface to try to document and access the fish in the mesophotic zone.  The hope is that in the future people will be able to refer to our work as they conduct additional studies into the mesophotic zone.


Thanks for helping us welcome our interns.  Stay tuned for more intern profiles.