The internship is coming to a close very soon; Kaitlyn and I have completed our data collection. With the upset of our 2 missing offshore larval moorings, we altered our project to compare the larvae of the nearshore traps. Having counted and morphologically distinguishing the larvae of the bottom trap and of the 1 m altitude trap, the analyzed data revealed fulfilling results. To start, larval composition differs with just a 1 m height difference in the water column. The bottom trap is more variable among repeated measures (tubes), and significantly more cyprids were found in the 1 m altitude trap, supporting the hypothesis that intertidal larvae travel higher in the water column. This is supported because a majority of the cyprids are identified as: Chthamalus dalli, Balanus glandula, Balanus crenatus, and Balanus nubilus, many of which are intertidal cyprids. Therefore, even with the loss of the moorings, we were able to collect data and produce a poster using the single nearshore mooring; a poster on pyrosome reproduction was constructed as well, and we will be presenting our findings next week.
With the stress of the end nearing, unsuspected deadlines, and long hours of data collection, the interns decided to let loose and have a dance party. We danced and pranced and were stress-free for a few hours or so. Then, the stress paraded itself right back to the interns, not subsiding until all data was collected, and posters were produced. During this haul for completion, some of us also took a break to head to a food truck competition. It was my first ever food truck experience, and I was very pleased with my vegan Asian wrap; it was yummy in my tummy. The live music also brought us to our feet with our surf dance moves. Not to mention, an invertebrate ball happened later in the week, where everybody dressed up as an invertebrate; I dressed up as a pyrosome, of course. The ball had a costume competition, allowing the students to strut down the runway in strange invertebrate manners. The ball ended with a dance party, so the week was basically filled with lots of dancing, which I am ecstatic about. The interns also went to Golden and Silver Falls; although a short hike, the falls and the nature were beautiful. We all got soaked standing under the waterfalls, “feeling the rain on our skin”. The evening also presented itself with a meteor shower in which we ooo’d and aah’d with each shooting star. I love going on adventures with all the interns, my friends.
Hello! My name is Nicole Wegrzyniak. I am originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, and I moved to Santa Barbara, California in 2015, where I attended Santa Barbara City College. In the fall of 2017, I will be attending the University of California, Davis, where I will be studying animal biology. I have desired to be a veterinarian ever since I was a child, and I continue to reach for this; I wish to open my own animal clinic someday, where I will happily help heal animals. While pursuing this dream, I have participated in many sports, clubs, volunteering opportunities, and whatever else I can in order to experience more and enhance my life. I enjoy gaining cultural intelligence through much travel, and I also fancy hiking, doing yoga, making crafts, and grocery shopping.
I applied to the REU program because it seemed like an intriguing and helpful program that would teach me professional skills and provide research experience while having fun with a topic I am greatly interested in: marine biology. I am excited to be working with Craig Young as my mentor and Kaitlyn Beard, the other undergraduate student Craig is mentoring. I wish to get a lot out of this experience, and already, within the first week this has been the case. I have learned how to collect larvae with a plankton net and how to identify some of the local invertebrate larvae. Furthermore, I have become familiar with how to rear larvae under optimal conditions in vitro as well as other helpful lab techniques. We are discussing possible projects that involve reproductive biology, larval development, and the ecology of deep-sea invertebrates. Specifically, we have discussed investigating the larvae at different depths of the ocean, gonad histology of deep-sea brittle stars or amphipods, and investigating the effect of larval predation on population distributions. I am excited to further plan these projects, to design the experiments and learn how to analyze data.