It's been another amazing week on the Oregon Coast!!!
This week’s research has been consumed with long hours on the microscope. Every pyrosome slice contains a dozen or more individual animals called zooids. Pyrosomes are colonial, meaning they look like a single animal but they are actually a colony of many individuals living, and sometimes working, together. Every zooid is a functioning individual with its own organs including our organ of interest: the gonad. Nicole and I have been searching between slices trying to identify which slice contains the largest cut of gonad for each zooid. Lots of searching and lovely time on the microscopes!
This week we were introduced to a scanning electron microscope. Such a cool instrument that works via vacuum and high voltage electrons to produce an amazing image. Science is so cool!
I have to go on a tangent. Science is super amazing but also difficult. In school you learn things that people have discovered and professors also attempt to teach you to think critically. But there is nothing like research. I've found I'm fully capable of doing the tasks assigned to gather data. However, the real job of asking questions, figuring out how to actually answer those questions with available tools, and analyzing the data you get to figure out if it answers what you were asking, that's the hard stuff. That's the stuff you can't learn in schools. That's the stuff that you can't just get lucky with but actually takes experience, practice, and coaching. I feel so blessed to be working with an amazing researcher this summer and getting to learn a little more about the intricacies of this process. There's so much to science that you don't understand until you are fully immersed. It's not only a language but a skill set, a way of thinking, and a way of seeing.
This week has been full of intern adventures. Foosball took a new turn when Zade decided to make face print outs of each of us to attach to the players. I'm now a proud midfielder. Kaz and I have taken many random beach adventures. And a big group of us found a little paradise at a lake in the sand dunes. This place is full of wonders and beauties that you never know exist until you take that next turn down a random road.
There's nothing like being an OIMB REU!!!
Hi. I’m Kaitlyn Beard from Orem, Utah and am studying Biology at Brigham Young University. I love running, hiking, violin, guitar, good food, and life! I love marine biology but don’t have a huge opportunity to study it in Utah. I applied to this program to figure out if studying marine biology is something I want to do for a career. I’m heading into my senior year and am thinking about graduate school so hope this will be an enlightening experience. I’ve been paired with Nicole Wegrzyniak and we are really excited to be working with Craig Young! During the first week we examined larvae from the plankton, learned about the reproduction of bryozoans, and used underwater photography to look for ecological patterns on the Charleston docks. We are designing an experiment to measure larval recruitment and larval supply at different depths in the water column. We also plan to study the reproduction of a deep- sea brittle star from hydrothermal vents in the Atlantic Ocean. I’m really excited for this opportunity!