Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Summer Interns Part 3

Welcome back! Meet six more of our BIOS summer interns!

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.

Diana Yeh
Diana is a Biology major at Lehigh University, and is visiting BIOS as part of the Lehigh International internship program. This summer she is working with Tim Noyes in research on the mesophotic coral ecosystem.

1. How would you describe the project you have worked on at BIOS?
Our team deploys the Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations (BRUVS) that capture footage of the different fish communities that live in the mesophotic zone. For my project, I’m working on finding indicator species for specific habitats and fish communities in various sites all around Bermuda. For now, I’m developing methodology to find the indicator species for the shallow reef habitats, a methodology that will also be applied to research on mesophotic habitats.

2. What did you hope to gain or learn from your internship, and did you achieve this?
Before coming to BIOS, my research experience had been limited to microbiological and bacterial research done at Lehigh University. I came to BIOS because I was looking to gain a more varied research experience, and learn about the research being done at other institutions. At BIOS, I have been able to learn more about marine science research, and gain research experience in marine science.

Takoda Edlund
Takoda is a Marine Science major at Eckerd College, and is the 2015 Eckerd College Galbraith/Wardman Fellow. This summer he is working with Dr. Goodbody-Gringley to determine what the invasive lionfish eat.

1. How would you describe the project you have worked on at BIOS?
I am working on determining the feeding ecology of the invasive lionfish here in Bermuda by analyzing lionfish stomach contents. Numerous studies have been done on identifying gut contents of lionfish, but the majority of these studies have relied solely on visual identification of the stomach contents. This only works though when the gut material is relatively undigested. What’s special about our project is that we are using DNA barcoding techniques, which allows us to identify specific species of things such as fish and crustaceans that have already been digested and are unrecognizable to the naked eye. Thus, this study could give us a very accurate picture of the lionfish’s diet.

2. What has your BIOS internship been like?
BIOS has provided me with the opportunity to make invaluable connections and network with fellow scientists and interns. This internship has been an amazing opportunity because it has given me great insight as to what a career in marine science can look like. I’ve also gained a lot of experience in all different aspects of this field, from the dive experience and data collection, to analyzing findings in the lab, and to preparing talks and presenting my research to others. This internship has been unforgettable for me, and I think that it has really helped establish myself as a scientist in the field of marine science.

Alexander Chamolly
Alex is studying Math at University of Cambridge, and is with us this summer as the Cawthorn Cambridge Intern at BIOS. This summer he is interning at BIOS for 3 months under the mentorship Dr. Nick Bates and Dr. Rod Johnson, both BIOS scientists conducting oceanography research.

1. How would you describe the project you have worked on at BIOS?
I am working on a computational model of the distribution of temperature, salinity and especially CO2 in a column of ocean water. These properties are affected by weather effects like sunshine, wind and rainfall, but also by geophysical effects like eddies [reverse currents] in the ocean. Researchers at BIOS have conducted cruises in the Atlantic Ocean on collecting such data for over 26 years now, and my goal is to explain the results they got. For example, it will be possible to tell how large the contributions of weather influences on carbon content are compared to advection from the surrounding ocean, a standing problem in Oceanography for 20 years.

2. What did you hope to gain or learn from your internship, and did you achieve this?
I just finished my Bachelor's degree and will soon need to decide about my future career. I've always been strongly considering research, but wanted to gather some experience before making the decision. I am very glad to have the opportunity to participate in the research undertaken here at BIOS, in particular because it is not obviously related to my university studies up to this point. It's giving me a great new perspective and I am more confident that work of this kind is what I'd like to pursue in the future.

Stuart Robertson
Stuart is working towards a Master’s of Science (M.Sc.) in Environmental Management at the University of York. This summer he is working as a Volunteer Intern with Tim Noyes in researching deep coral reef zones using Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations (BRUVS) in order to determine where the lionfish live in the deeper waters.

1. How would you describe the project you have worked on at BIOS?
Bermuda has a major issue with invasive species in the marine realm. In the marine realm this is predominately the lionfish. The lionfish are threatening the health of the marine ecosystem in Bermuda, and what I’m trying to do, through a combination of field work studies and computer based modeling, is predict where the lionfish are likely to be around the island. The fieldwork that I am doing focuses on the deeper coral reef ecosystems around the edge of the island, which are beyond the reaches of recreational diving. To research this zone, we drop Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations (BRUVS) in order to study the habitat and species that these deep reefs contain.

2. Has your time at BIOS changed your thoughts on what you might want to do in the future?
Yes; having worked at BIOS, I learned that in the future I would like to integrate my own research with educational outreach programs. While at BIOS, I learned about BIOS’s educational programs such as the Marine Science Internship (MSI) and Waterstart. There is a connection between the research that goes on at BIOS and the education programs for students in the community, and this has inspired me to combine my research with educational outreach programs for students and the public at large.

Sarah Wu
Sarah is a student at Lehigh University majoring in Biology and English with a concentration in Creative Writing. This summer she is interning under Rachel Parsons, and investigating the effects of ocean acidification, as part of the Lehigh International internship program.

1. How would you describe the project you have worked on at BIOS?
My project aims to aid in the research of ocean acidification by studying some of the differences between the surface water of open ocean and reef waters, specifically the microbial composition. Having a better idea of the differences between open water and reef water systems will allow other scientists to have a clearer idea of the true effects of ocean acidification.

2. Has anything in particular impressed you while you have been at BIOS?
I'm in awe of the atmosphere here at BIOS. This is my first time working at a dedicated research facility, and I love the energy here. So many people here are so passionate about their work that it's hard not to also get excited about what they're doing. It's also really cool to meet, listen, and talk to so many big names in the field of marine biology. It is a humbling experience that makes me realize how lucky I am to be here.

Alyssa Sherry
Alyssa is a graduate student at Arizona State University studying Chemistry and Biochemistry. Alyssa came to BIOS this summer as part of a one-week internship on the R/V Atlantic Explorer, BIOS’s world-class oceanographic research vessel. The R/V Atlantic Explorer is owned and operated by BIOS, in compliance with the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS), as a general purpose oceanographic research vessel designed for both short and extended cruises. See more at http://www.bios.edu/ship-ops

1. How would you describe the project you have worked on at BIOS?
The ocean around Bermuda draws down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere more than in most places. In order to understand why this happens, we took samples of seawater at different depths in a few locations in the Atlantic Ocean surrounding Bermuda for various chemical tests. I've always been interested in how chemistry can be applied to environmental situations. It's one of the reasons that I decided to get a PhD in Chemistry. It was incredible to see this in action on the research vessel.

2. Has your time at BIOS changed your thoughts on what you might want to do in the future?
Absolutely! I’m working on my PhD in Chemistry right now and always knew that I wanted to apply chemistry to the environment. I wasn’t seriously considering a career in ocean sciences until my BIOS internship. I loved working out at sea and can now see myself working as a chemical oceanographer in the future.

Thanks for reading! Stay posted to read more about our interns!

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