I am interested in marine science because the ocean holds a staggering diversity of organisms, all with various sizes, shapes, colors, and behaviors. Moreover, an even greater array of species are likely to be discovered as scientists probe the vast, unexplored depths. I am greatly interested in learning from and participating in this endeavor as a research scientist. Consequently, I decided to apply for PRIME because I felt that this internship would be instrumental in providing me experience in scientific research, determining my career path, and funding my transfer to OSU.
I will be residing and working at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB), a marine research center associated with the University of Oregon (UO). I will be interning with Dr. Svetlana Maslakova, an Associate Professor with the UO and an expert on Nemerteans (otherwise known as ribbon worms). I will be studying the development of the ciliary bands in pillidium larvae, particularly those of the heteronemertean species Micrura alaskensis. Pilidia are the larval form unique to the taxonomic group Heteronemertea. They are shaped somewhat like like hats with two ear-flaps. The ciliary band runs along the edge of these ear-flaps, and helps the larvae move and feed.
In my first week, I've already learned how to extract the gametes from species like M. alaskensis and Dendraster excentricus (a local sand dollar). I've also learned how to fertilize these species, raise their larvae, and feed them. In addition, I'm developing skills related to microphotography, fixation (=killing) of larvae, the application of fluorescent antibody labeling, and confocal microscopy.
In my spare time, I've been exploring some of the great beaches and parks Charleston has to offer. I've already seen a lot of beautiful scenery and fascinating animals, and I'm excited for what I'll discover in the coming weeks!
|A juvenile American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos). Note the blue eyes and pink mouth lining.|