Schindler - Photobiology
College of William and Mary, Gloucester, VA
This summer at SERC I've been interning in Dr. Patrick Neale's Photobiology and Solar Radiation lab. We study the relationship between ultraviolet radiation and aquatic bacteria and phytoplankton. We sample from the Rhode River right here at SERC and also the Southern Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. We expose the aquatic organisms to both solar and artificial UV radiation and then develop BWFs (biological weighting functions) to determine which wavelengths of the radiation are most detrimental to their metabolism. We hope to discover how the balance between UV cellular damage and UV-activated cellular repair mechanisms acts along the UV spectrum. My internship was cut short by our research cruise to the Gulf of Mexico, so for my project I'll be comparing the BWF for the bacteria in the Rhode River versus that for those in the Gulf of Mexico. The idea is that the Gulf bacteria, being exposed to more natural UV, have a higher threshold and will be more resistant. After my internship, I'll be starting my third year at the College of William & Mary where I am studying biological psychology. SERC doesn't seem like a place for someone in my field, but environmental science still interests me, and I'm glad that I got to work at such a friendly and committed institution. I may not have saved the ozone in my 12 weeks here, but my eyes are a little more open now and I've gotten my hands dirty in some real research. The SERC internship program has made it easy for me to explore an area of science that has such a noble cause.
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