- Area of Study Ecology and Conservation Biology
Where are you from?
I am from Marietta, Ohio.
What extra-curricular activities are you involved in?
I have been involved in the BU book club and Kilachand in the City, an environmental volunteer group that works around local parks and gardens in the Boston area.
What interested you in specializing in our Ecology & Conservation Biology major?
Ecology and Conservation Biology has always captivated me because I love to learn about all of our planet’s incredibly unique ecosystems and the interactions within and between them. I think that we as scientists (and as people) have a responsibility to study these systems and preserve them for generations to come, especially as we continue to try and limit our negative effects on them.
What is your favorite Biology course and why?
My favorite course was Marine Biology because it gave me an in-depth look at a variety of marine systems and really helped to direct my current work, while still keeping me up to date with new discoveries in the field.
What was your experience like studying abroad in the Marine Semester?
My marine semester experience was absolutely incredible! Each class provided me unique opportunities that I would have been very hard-pressed to find elsewhere–from assembling an entire fish skeleton in Ichthyology to sequencing partial coral genomes in Marine Genomics. Additionally, learning about Tropical Fisheries while experiencing them in Belize allowed for some real, hands-on research; we were even able to collect data on a recent parasite outbreak affecting the massive lobster fishery.
What is your favorite BU Biology memory?
My favorite BU biology memory is probably getting the chance go on a Great White shark expedition with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy as party of my Marine Megafauna Ecology course. We were accompanying the researchers as they were taking GoPro videos of the sharks off the coast of Chatham, MA. I have never been that close to a Great White in my life, and it is a memory I will never forget!
How did you get your research position and what kind of research do you do?
I was so inspired by my Marine Biology course with Professor Randi Rotjan that I sought out a research position in her lab my sophomore year. We are currently working to analyze plankton samples from the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) in the Central Pacific to see what trends occur in the distribution of tuna larvae, and whether spawning sites are actually within the protected zones. Trends in plankton distribution can reveal so much about how the system changes in response to seasonal changes in climate, and will continue to help us evaluate the potential recovery of these exploited tuna species.
What are your post-graduation plans?
My post-graduation plans include pursuing a masters in Marine Science/Marine Biology and potentially a PhD further down the road. I would love to develop a career in some subset of conservation & climate science or biological research & technology. There are so many disciplines benefiting from ecological discoveries–for example, the pharmaceutical compounds being synthesized from elements of coral reefs–and we have only just scratched the surface.