The time I’ve spent identifying phytoplankton on the microscope makes me feel a bit more like a professional on finding them now, especially Pseudo-Nitzschia. It always astounds me to visualize how many different types of phytoplankton are found in a small water sample. I cannot even comprehend the amount that is in our entire ocean when I find such large quantities in one mere liter! It’s fascinating as well that they have such large impacts on us. Pseudo-Nitzschia has been known to shut down various shellfish industries for causing Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning. It really brings to light how important these creatures serve in our daily lives. Although it has made such an impact on multiple shellfish industries, Pseudo-Nitzschia has never affected the oyster industry as much despite the oysters’ abundant existence in Coos Bay. It is a possibility that this is because Pseudo-Nitzschia never reach the area where oysters typically are, around Haynes’ Inlet. As a reminder, my project aims to find how far into the Coos Bay estuary Pseudo-Nitzschia get and so will answer this question. I am excited to solve this mystery!
As the weeks go by quickly, I'm feeling more pressed for time than ever as there is now officially less than a month to go! I am currently just trying to collect as much data as I can, yet still have some time to analyze and make conclusions before our poster presentations. The deadline keeps coming closer and closer and I find myself always wanting more time for my research. The seminar we had this week on applying to graduate school made me feel better, however, as it seems you really do typically need a larger amount of time to solve research questions. I am excited to (hopefully) make it into grad school eventually so that whatever project I find myself in I can immerse myself without being too pressed for time. This experience is also giving me many ideas on what I’m looking for in the sort of lab environment I would want getting my Master’s degree. There’s still many things I’m finding out about myself and what I’m looking for specifically, but I definitely know it will be around marine coastal waters.
My name is Nancy Torres and I am from Carson, a city located in southern California. I am currently pursuing a Bachelor's of Science degree in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Barbara. My ultimate career goal is to find a way to combine my passion for learning about the marine realm with my desire to help spread environmental awareness and inspire action.