Alaina Weinheimer is a rising senior at Pennsylvania State University, majoring in Biology and minoring in Microbiology and Marine Science. This summer, she is comparing mucus bacterial communities of Montastraea cavernosa colonies from St. Lucie Reef. These same colonies have been monitored regularly since 2010, and comparison among colonies and over time may elucidate coral responses to freshwater discharge from Lake Okeechobee. Coral mucus bacteria serve several functions, such as defending the coral against pathogens and cycling nutrients, therefore determining how freshwater discharge impacts bacterial communities may aid in understanding local coral health. Alaina's internship is funded by Dr. Voss' Florida Sea Grant.
Nancy Sealover is an undergraduate honors student at University of Maryland, College Park. She is genotyping Montastraea cavernosa samples from St. Lucie Reef and West Palm Beach using nine microsatellite markers. The data generated from her project will contribute to Alycia's objective to identify stress-resistant coral genotypes from local reefs. Nancy's internship is graciously funded by the Link Foundation through Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute.
Stay tuned for their internship presentations at the end of the summer!