Monday, September 21, 2015

Summer Interns Part 4

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. 

Hanny Rivera
Hanny is a PhD student in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program, linking Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).  For the past 4 years, she has been coming to BIOS to do research on corals. 

1. How did you hear about BIOS, and for how long have you been participating in any BIOS-related program?
I first came to BIOS in 2011 to conduct research for my undergraduate thesis. I studied the survival of coral larvae during that summer and the impact of small herbivores, like snails, on how well the larvae survived and grew. Since then I have come back to BIOS several times (I’m on trip 5) for various research projects, all related to coral. 

2. How would you describe the project you have worked on at BIOS during this trip?
Corals are extremely important animals in the marine environment. They form reefs by creating a skeleton made out of calcium carbonate (limestone) and live in the upper layer of this skeleton, which they secrete throughout their lives. The skeleton forms the basis for the reef and provides shelter and habitat for thousands of species. This summer I have been working on an experiment that looks at how temperature changes affect the coral’s ability to grow. A changing climate and increasing temperatures are expected to be detrimental to coral growth. Some corals, though, may be more sturdy and capable of maintaining good growth rates even under increased temperatures. We can get a sense for which corals are more resistant to temperature by looking at historical growth records of corals through time – corals grow in a way similar to trees such that we can analyze their bands and look back at which corals were growing at normal rates.  My experiment’s purpose was to see just how stressful conditions have to be in order for the growth patterns to be affected.

Emily Avery
Emily is a Neuroscience major at Princeton University, and joins BIOS as this year's Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS) intern.  This summer she is helping in the Waterstart program at BIOS, an educational program geared towards teaching students aged 12-16 SCUBA diving and marine science. 

1. How did you hear about BIOS, and for how long have you been participating in any BIOS-related program?
I heard about BIOS through the Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS), an established summer internship program that gets students involved in nonprofits around the world. This is my first summer here, but there has been a Princeton intern in my position at BIOS for a number of summers.

2. How would you describe the project you have worked on at BIOS?
I am interning with JP Skinner in the Waterstart program. The program consists of a series of week-long day camps for students interested in learning more about SCUBA diving, marine science, and anything else concerning the wonderful waters of Bermuda. In a typical week, we teach students about the environmental challenges faced by the ocean and marine life in Bermuda and beyond, how to build and operate rudimentary Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), how to identify numerous vertebrate and invertebrate marine species, and, most excitingly for many students, SCUBA theory and SCUBA diving skills. By the end of the week, the large majority of Waterstart students have been able to expand their SCUBA certification, with most having never had the chance to dive prior to this camp. Most importantly, all students have a whole lot of fun and learn a great deal in the process.

Vivian Yao
Vivian is majoring in Geosciences at Princeton University. This summer she is researching coral reef biogeochemistry as a Volunteer Intern at BIOS.   

1. How would you describe the project you have worked on at BIOS?
Coral reefs are in danger of temperature variations due to global climate change. When the temperature and surrounding environmental conditions change too quickly for the reef population to adjust accordingly, the corals, as well as the plants (cells) that help the corals obtain nutrients and excrete waste begin to stress. Both parties’ growth and development are hindered once environmental precursors sever this relationship. The corals no longer have their plant helpers, and the “zoox” have lost their physical shelter and protection that the corals were providing them in return. Our lab is comparing the stresses between two different coral populations in the Bermudian waters. Bermuda is the ideal place to study this coral and zooxanthellae symbiotic relationship because the reefs are relatively untouched and unscathed by anthropogenic influences.

2. What did you hope to gain or learn from your internship, and did you achieve this?
My primary goals for this summer internship included becoming familiar with different types of labs and lab setups, following a scientific experiment throughout time and space—from collecting the coral samples from the reef to returning them a couple of months later—and receiving a thorough introduction of oceanography and working at an oceanographic institution. I can confidently conclude that these expectations were met after a summer here at BIOS. I can operate well in a wet lab and have learned how to use and interpret various lab instruments. I have explored the quick problem solving and flexibility that is required to run an experiment in the field.

Bess Ruff
Bess Ruff is at the University of California Santa Barbara working towards a Masters in Environmental Science Management and specializing in coastal marine research management and conservation planning. This summer she is working as a Volunteer Intern with Kevin Mayall, Bermuda’s first Nearshore Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) Coordinator.

1. How would you describe the project you have worked on at BIOS?
We are conducting a survey of marine stakeholders in Bermuda regarding ocean management in the near-shore ocean environment in Bermuda.  We are trying to get a baseline understanding of how different interest groups look at ocean management in Bermuda and how they might prioritize coastal management objectives.  We are looking to speak with commercial and recreational fisherman, dive and tour operators, shipping and transport authorities, government officials, and recreational ocean users such as members of the general public. 

2. What did you hope to gain or learn from your internship, and did you achieve this?
I have done survey work in the past, but it was always focused on a single interest group, e.g. tourists. Through this internship I have gained greater experience in conducting surveys across multiple interest groups with varying opinions and attitudes. I hope to learn how to consolidate the data we have collected in a way that will inform an effective action plan for the management of Bermuda’s nearshore ocean environment. 

No comments:

Post a Comment