Allie started building a mesocosm system that will be used to simulate water conditions at the St. Lucie Reef in Stuart, FL in order to determine the effects of freshwater discharge on the local corals. She compared three different LED light fixtures, finding that one fixture will be suitable to provide the light spectra and intensity needed to maintain live corals. In addition, Allie worked on her thesis proposal, so stay tuned for updates on her project this fall!
This summer has been incredibly busy and exciting for Courtney. She successfully defended her Master’s thesis to a full house in late June, where she provided evidence for locally adapted coral-Symbiodinium associations at St. Lucie Reef. Following her defense, she has been preparing her thesis for publication and getting ready for graduation. She received her Masters in Science on August 5th at the FAU Boca Raton campus.
This summer, Jennifer completed her second Harbor Branch Summer Internship, where she focused on St. Lucie Reef corals, comparing zooxanthellae densities and chlorophyll concentrations from samples taken in July 2014 to those from July 2013. Additionally, she began developing a protocol to determine the gene copy number for different zooxanthellae types, which will be used with quantitative PCR to determine abundances of specific zooxanthellae types found in coral samples for her Masters’ thesis.
The summer of 2014 was very busy for Maureen with field sampling, intern research, and a few projects to tie up. She continued assisting with field work at St. Lucie Reef, helped Jennifer set up her examinations of zooxanthellae clades, and developed methods for map generation from quadcopter photos. She was also able to use a FlowCAM (a flow cytometer coupled to a microscope and camera) to analyze zooxanthellae from corals at St. Lucie Reef.
Michael began his summer on the 2014 Pulley Ridge Tech Diver cruise as sample processor and blogger. July was this year's dive month, where he and Josh furthered their technical diver training with TDI's Extended range and GUE's Fundamentals courses, enabling them to dive to 180ft on their new gear. For the remainder of the summer, Michael has been processing the Pulley Ridge coral samples and starting amplification and genotyping of microsatellite loci in Montastraea cavernosa in order to examine mesophotic and shallow coral population structure.
This summer's been a productive one for all the members of the Voss lab, so here's a short summary of what everyone has been doing:
This past weekend, Courtney began a new chapter in her scientific career as a PhD student with Dan Barshis at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Although she will be leaving Florida, there is a strong possibility of return to examine coral reefs in the Florida Keys as part of her dissertation. On August 1-4, Dan and Courtney were down in the Florida Keys ‘shopping’ for corals to bring back to the lab at Old Dominion for future experimentation. Although ready for this next adventure, she will sorely miss the Voss Lab and the warm climate of Florida!
Congratulations Courtney, you will be missed!
Michael Studivan is processing mesophotic coral samples from this summer's Pulley Ridge cruise, and is seeking a motivated undergraduate or high school student to assist in microscopic photography and skeletal measurements. As part of his dissertation research examining differences between shallow and mesophotic corals, Michael is quantifying skeletal morphological characteristics. The student would aid in photographing coral samples, measuring skeletal features using image analysis software, and performing statistical analyses on the data. Experience using microscopes is preferred. Please contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or to submit a CV. Thank you!
As part of the June technical diver cruise to Pulley Ridge in June 2014 and the upcoming ROV cruise in October, Josh and Michael were selected to write background essays for NOAA's Cooperative Institute web presence. Josh described the main research focus of the Pulley Ridge project: examining and modeling the connectivity of marine species across mesophotic Pulley Ridge reefs to the shallow Dry Tortugas and Florida Keys reef ecosystems. Michael's essay summarized his experience on board the M/V Spree in June as sample processor for the technical diver cruise. Josh's essay can be found here and Michael's here.
Josh and Michael Studivan, along with HBOI and FAU Dive Safety Officers Jimmy Nelson and Dave Muncher, recently completed Global Underwater Explorers (GUE) Fundamentals dive training during the peak of spiny lobster mini season. The first of several technical classes in the GUE repertoire, this class focused on providing a stable platform while diving - teaching how to maintain constant trim and buoyancy in order to perform nearly any task underwater. The divers learned many new skills, adapted to their new Halcyon doubles gear, and anticipate any future dive training and research collaboration with GUE!