Friday, December 19, 2014

The Beaches of Bermuda

The following blog post was written by a 2014 National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) student following their internship at BIOS.

Working on DNA extractions
Hello, my name is Amanda Appelson and I am a junior studying Marine Affairs at the University of Miami. I have been working as an REU student with Dr. Gretchen Goodbody-Gringley on the Bermuda Invasive Lionfish Control Initiative.

Bermuda is a country full of beautiful beaches and super friendly people. The vibrantly colored houses and constant greetings on the street give Bermuda its unique charm. Beyond the wonderful and close-knit community of BIOS, there are an endless number of beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, cliffs and caves to enjoy. Some highlights were swimming in Blue Hole, and snorkeling at Horseshoe Bay.

Crystal clear waters at North Rock

Besides relaxing on beautiful beaches in my time off, I had the opportunity to attend a variety of events happening around the island including the Rugby Classic and Oktoberfest. Some of my favorite activities have been SCUBA diving at a shipwreck, taking an REU trip to Nonsuch Island and snorkeling at North Rock.

Working in Bermuda has only reinforced my passion and interest in the invasive Lionfish and marine conservation. I had the opportunity to work in a molecular lab, assist as a deck hand and experience a cruise out to sea on the R/V Atlantic Explorer. My time here has truly been full of new experiences.

Lionfish collection

Snorkeling around Nonsuch Island

REU trip to Nonsuch Island

Church Bay

Tobacco Bay

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Getting Over the Wooziness: Life at Sea

The following blog post was written by a 2014 National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) student following their internship at BIOS.

Hi my name is Michael Wooster and I am a senior studying marine biology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. I am working with Dr. Eric Hochberg in the Coral Reef Ecology and Optics Laboratory at BIOS. I am investigating how coral community light-use efficiency (LUE) changes under different environmental conditions. LUE describes the ability of the community to convert light energy into sugar (via photosynthesis). I explored the effects of elevated temperature, carbon dioxide, and nutrients on LUE in a flume mesocosm. The results will give us new insight to how the physiology of coral communities will respond to expected environmental changes over the next few decades.

One good thing about studying coral reef ecology is being able to call scuba diving work. I had an amazing time diving on the reefs and doing a little science with it as well.

It was not just all work, we also explored and had a lot of fun and adventures in the three months that we were at BIOS. One of the biggest adventures we had was a 24 hour cruise on the R/V Atlantic Explorer. After the initial wooziness we had a great time doing some science out at sea collecting water samples from niskin bottles and the CTD. There was also some down time where we explored the ship, watched a lot of movies in the cinema room, ate delicious food by 5 star chefs, and napped here and there.

There was also the time that we were forced to stay in the library for 2 days because of category 2 hurricane Gonzalo. We made it through by watching movies, playing games, and building forts to sleep in.

Bermuda is an island so we can’t forget about the beaches. These are some of the best beaches I have ever been to and the pink sand is so cool. Even though there are not that many waves, you can be entertained by climbing rocky cliffs, snorkeling to see corals, and my personal favorite, cliff jumping.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Stretching Your Intellectual Legs

The following blog post was written by a 2014 National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) student following their internship at BIOS.

My name is April Oliver, and I study Biochemistry at California Polytechnic State University, from which I will be graduating next June. Our school motto is “Learn by Doing” and I have been doing a lot of learning and a lot of doing during my internship here at BIOS! For my project with the Bermuda Bio-Optics Lab, I have been characterizing water-soluble organic carbon in marine aerosols from the open ocean, hoping to lend some insights into the nature of atmospheric deposition of organic carbon.

We had a lot of fun exploring Bermuda. The locals are a very friendly, tight knit community. Everyone smiles and says hello, wants to know where we are from and what we are up to. The beaches here are amazing (and I’m from California).

The island is small, so you never miss an ocean sunset.

The BIOS station is also really beautiful. It is densely planted so that you feel like you’re living in a jungle paradise.

The resident cat was a favorite. He was very friendly, following us everywhere and sitting on our laps whenever we did work in the lounge.

One day we visited Blue Hole Park. It is a magical place. Lagoons surrounded by mangroves, caves with cold underwater lakes, and dense flora make it a fun adventure.

One of the most memorable experiences that we’ve had during our stay in Bermuda was the opportunity to go to TEDxBermuda. It’s nice to stretch your intellectual legs and hear some ideas from people outside your field of study. Let me tell you, we learned about some MIND-BLOWING things! The very first talk was from anthropologist Carl Lipo, who studied the indigenous people of Easter Island. He figured out how the Rapa Nui moved the huge monolithic human carvings, called Moai, for which Easter Island is famous for.

He said that the Moai were designed to be “walked” for many miles from the quarries which they were carved. I didn’t understand what he meant, until he showed this video which had me picking my jaw up off the floor.

I'm so grateful for this experience. The people I've met are fun, bright, and spontaneous, and my mentor (Natasha McDonald) is the best that I could have hoped for. I am sad to be leaving this beautiful place, and hope to return in the future.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Coral Reef Ecology 2014

The Coral Reef Ecology course has been taking place at BIOS for almost 25 years now, with this year‘s course being one of the most diverse groups we have had the pleasure of hosting. Twenty-two students from nine different countries: Brazil, Cuba, Canada, United States, Italy, Germany, Japan, the UK and Bermuda! The students varied in science experience ranging from undergraduates in their third year all the way to second year PhD students.

The main goal of the course was to allow students to explore the responses of coral reefs to the changing environmental conditions associated with projected global climate change scenarios. We walked the students through multiple scenarios using both lab and field based studies. We saw one of the more heavy wind and rain seasons for Bermuda this August, so when the weather cooperated the students were eager to dive right in (literally). Science diving was involved in every dive whether it was transects quantifying coral disease, a night dive to witness coral spawn, or a deep dive in search of the invasive lionfish for our dinner!

It was a pleasure assisting with the course as a teaching assistant and I am going to really miss this group. Thanks for the fun times guys!!


Monday, June 23, 2014

2014 BIOS Summer Interns - Post #2

Last week we introduced seven of BIOS's summer interns, giving you some insight into their diverse educational backgrounds and career aspirations, as well as the research projects they'll be working on over the next few weeks or months. Today we're pleased to introduce seven more students that are spending all, or part of, their summer with us at BIOS!

Sara Schroder is a first year Bermuda Program student and a rising freshman at Colgate University (New York) where she plans to major in biology/pre-med. For the next month she'll be working with Tim Noyes in the Coral Reef Ecology and Optics Lab using baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS) to study the diet of the invasive lionfish in Bermuda. Her long-term career plans are focused on becoming a pediatrician or pediatric surgeon.

Sara in front of the Naess Building at BIOS

Jecar Chapman is a fifth (!!!) year Bermuda Program student, returning to work with Dr. Andrea Bodnar in the Molecular Discovery Lab investigating the use of a sea urchin protein as a biomarker for age. He is currently in his 2nd/3rd year at Dalhousie where he is studying biochemistry and molecular biology. Jecar is a great example of how the technical training and research experiences from a BIOS Bermuda Program internship can be used to further diverse career and academic goals.

Jecar in the Molecular Discovery Lab

Jason Manley is a rising sophomore at Princeton University where he is studying molecular biology with certificates in neuroscience and quantitative & computational biology. As a Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) intern at BIOS, he is undertaking a twelve-week research internship with Drs. Andrea Bodnar and Helena Reinardy in the Molecular Discovery Lab, investigating mechanisms of nerve and muscle regeneration in sea urchin tube feet. Jason learned about this internship opportunity from Michael Chang, a 2013 Princeton-BIOS intern who also worked in the Molecular Discovery Lab.

Jason in the Molecular Discovery Lab's "wet bench"

Connor Stonesifer is a rising junior at Princeton University where he is majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology with certificates in creative writing and planets & life. Another PEI intern, he is working with Natasha McDonald in the Bermuda Bio-Optics Program studying lignin phenols in microbial and marine organic matter production in the open ocean. Connor learned about the Princeton-BIOS internship program through on-campus advertisements and was excited at the prospect of interning at a facility that focused solely on marine science and oceanography.

Connor in front of the R/V Atlantic Explorer

Rachel Barnes is a rising senior at Bowdion College (Brunswick, ME) where she is double-majoring in economics and earth & oceanographic science. She is also a second-year Bermuda Program intern who is working with Natasha McDonald in the Bermuda Bio-Optics Program on a variety of lab projects using advanced computer coding techniques and biostatistics programs.

Rachel in front of the R/V Atlantic Explorer

Marta Cabral is a rising junior at Princeton in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs. In 2013 she was a Princeton Internship in Civil Service (PICS) intern at BIOS where she worked with the summer Ocean Academy's Waterstart and HSBC Explorer programs developing curricula and assisting with course instruction. This year she received support from Princeton for an independent project at BIOS, working with both the Education and Development Departments to broaden the social impacts of BIOS education programs.

Marta aboard one of BIOS's research vessels

Mackenzie Dooner is a rising sophomore at Princeton University with an undeclared major and a certificate in environmental studies. She is the 2014 PICS intern at BIOS and is working with the Ocean Academy's Waterstart and HSBC Explorer Programs to develop curricula and lead field, laboratory, and classroom programs. Mackenzie was excited about the internship opportunity at BIOS and saw it as a way to build upon her previous experiences with ocean stewardship and education programs, both in the US and abroad.

Mackenzie at the BIOS waterfront
As you can see, BIOS offers many internship opportunities in both marine science and marine science education. With faculty studying most every aspect of ocean science--from physical oceanography to ocean biogeochemistry to coral--students have little trouble finding mentors and projects that align with their academic coursework and interests. BIOS's active education and outreach programs also provide students with opportunities to learn how science is translated to the public and into meaningful classroom programs around the island. Next month we'll introduce even more of our summer interns and begin to follow up with some we've already introduced to see how their research is shaping up.

Friday, June 13, 2014

2014 BIOS Summer Interns - Post #1

It's that time of year again: when BIOS opens its doors and labs to a new group of summer interns, eager to learn conduct supervised research projects and gain valuable experience working in marine science and oceanography. This summer, BIOS welcomes interns from Eckerd College (recipient of the Galbraith/Wardman Fellowship), CaBIOS (Canadian Associates of BIOS) scholars, Furman University, students from the Princeton Environmental Institute and the Princeton Internships in Civil Service, a recipient of the Cawthorne Cambridge fellowship, volunteer interns, and the many Bermudian students participating in Ocean Academy's Bermuda Program. Over the next few weeks we'll be introducing each of these students, giving you a glimpse into their education background, future plans, and the research projects they'll be working on while at BIOS. Then, toward the end of the summer, we'll check back in with them to learn about the results of their work and what they learned along the way.

Rebecca Terrett is a rising junior at Princeton in the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) where she is majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She's always been interested in marine science, particularly SCUBA diving, and wanted marine-specific general education that isn't currently offered at Princeton. She heard about the PEI internship at BIOS from some of her friends that came last summer and decided to apply for a position with Dr. Eric Hochberg in the Coral Reef Ecology and Optics Lab (CREOL) where she will be studying the phenology of coral pigments using bio-optics. Rebecca said that another reason she wanted an internship at BIOS is the ability to work full-time on a research project and to learn from full-time researchers and scientists. In addition to marine science, she recently developed an interest in animal behavior and neuroscience and is looking forward to the possibility of working in a neuroscience lab at Princeton when she returns in the fall.

Rebecca working at the CREOL flume

Amy Pope is a rising senior at Furman University where she is majoring in biology. As a student in the 2013 Furman Oceans and Human Health course held at BIOS, as well as the BIOS summer Coral Reef Ecology course, Amy became familiar with the internship opportunities available at our institution. This summer, for eight weeks, she will be working with Dr. Andrea Bodnar in the Molecular Discovery Lab  studying the expression of cell proliferation and stem cell markers in sea urchin tissues. She hopes her internship at BIOS will provide a broader understanding of marine biology in real-life settings.

Amy working in the microscopy lab at BIOS

Celine Collis is a rising senior at the University of Toronto where she is double-majoring in Ethics, Society & Law and Biodiversity & Conservation Studies. A Bermuda Program student, this will be Celine's third year working with Dr. Hochberg in the Coral Reef Ecology and Optics Lab at BIOS. She hopes to follow a career path in environmental law and just recently took the law school admissions exam. Growing up in Bermuda she spent much of her time in or on the water and holds Bermuda's marine environment close to her heart, considering it something worth advocating for. Her experiences at BIOS have supplemented her existing knowledge of the environment and she hopes this will help down the road with her future cases.

Celine aboard one of BIOS's research vessels

Daniel Maguire is a rising freshman at Dalhousie University where he will be starting this fall in the marine science program. He is a first-year Bermuda Program student, but a long-time friend of BIOS, having participated in the Waterstart Program, the Marine Science Internship (MSI) Program and--most recently--returning to Waterstart as a group leader. This year he will be working with both Tim Noyes in the Coral Reef Ecology and Optics Lab (using BRUVS to study fish behavior) and Dr. Gretchen Goodbody-Gringley (research project to be determined).

Daniel at the BIOS waterfront

Kevin Wong is a rising senior at Carleton University in Ottawa where he is majoring in environmental science as a co-op student, meaning that he works at relevant positions throughout the later years of his degree program. He found out about BIOS internship opportunities through an internet search and was pleased to learn about support available through the Canadian Associates of BIOS (CaBIOS) program. This summer be will be working with Dr. Samantha de Putron in the Coral Reproduction and Recruitment Lab studying the impacts of temperature variation on coral larvae. After his degree, Kevin is interested in pursuing a career conducting environmental impact assessments and remediation. 

Kevin at the BIOS waterfront

Christie Halliday just completed her undergraduate degree in Environmental Sciences at Plymouth University. She is also a 4th year Bermuda Program student working with Dr. Hochberg in the Coral Reef Ecology and Optics Lab, potentially studying the photosynthetic efficiency of various coral functional groups. Christie has enjoyed BIOS's Bermuda Program because, "It's a really great way to build upon the material covered at university and has helped improve my understanding of marine environments. Everyone at BIOS is always really friendly and happy to give advice, both on specific topics and generally on careers in science." She is currently taking a year away to apply to schools, as she hopes to attend graduate school to study marine policy and resource management.

Christie working at the CREOL flume

Annie McCarthy is a rising junior at Eckerd College, a marine biology major, and the 2014 recipient of the Galbraith/Wardman Fellowship. She has had multiple study-abroad experiences, including a SeaMester in the Caribbean, working as a student researcher for the School for Field Studies in the Turks and Caicos, and as an international student in Bali and Indonesia. It was these experiences that got her interested in marine science--specifically coral and reef restoration--as she was able to see first hand the contrast between the healthier coral reefs in Indonesia and the human-impacted reefs in the Caribbean. During her ten-week internship at BIOS this summer, Annie will be working with Dr. Samantha de Putron in the Coral Reproduction and Recruitment Lab studying the effect of light and feeding on coral growth.

Annie in the Coral Reproduction & Recruitment Lab
Stay tuned next week for profiles of more of the BIOS Summer 2014 interns!