Collaborative Research

Far, Far Away
by -- January 16th, 2013

Hi there, my name is Samantha Rose and I am an undergraduate at Drury University in Springfield, Mo.  I am double majoring in biology and environmental science.

My connection to DUML stems from this past summer when I interned with Dr. Zackary Johnson through the National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.  While there I was exposed to the Johnson lab’s extensive work involving Prochlorococcus, and so I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue doing research by joining the POWOW cruise this month.

On the cruise, my project is to measure the concentration of ammonium (NH₄) from samples taken by the Rosette sampler at different depths and latitudes.  Ammonium is the primary nutrient source used to support Prochlorococcus growth, but it is very limited in the open ocean.  The low nutrient adaptivity of Prochlorococcus has enabled it to become the most abundant oxygenic photograph in the ocean. 

The full extent to which Prochlorococcus populations vary in different regions remains unknown.   Some distinctions have been made concerning who the dominant members are in different light and temperature conditions, but future discoveries are only possible through field research such as this. While my part is only a small portion of the overall project I am excited to see what patterns my data shows!

It is only the fourth day of this journey, and so we still have a lot of work to do.  Weather conditions have been good for the most part except for today.  Most everyone has gotten their ‘sea legs’ at this point too and are settling in to life on a ship.  I can’t imagine what it is going to feel like to be on land again!

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