The LTER community Instagram recently featured SBC LTER researchers, field sites, and ongoing projects based out of UC Santa Barbara, myself included. Check it out!
Last week, Katherine Le graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and a minor in Earth Science. With generous support from the Worster Award, she completed and presented an independent project examining the contribution of zooplankton excretion to giant kelp forest nutrient budgets. She has been an invaluable member of our laboratory group for the past few years, contributing to numerous dissertation and summer REU projects, and she will be greatly missed. However, she's already embarked on her next adventure! Just a few days after graduating, she flew cross-country to start her new position as the Environmental Data Initiative Fellow at the Lacawac Sanctuary and Biological Field Station. Congratulations Katherine!!
Each year, I compile a list of resources (listservs, jobs, etc.) for my students to help them get a jump start on the summer. Check out the most recent version now posted to my Teaching page.
Check out our new paper in Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, published as part of their special issue on sandy beach ecosystems. Our study examines how beach hoppers (Megalorchestia corniculata) break down giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) and generate significant amounts of nutrients for the surrounding ecosystem. Congrats to co-authors Kyle, Lila, Jenny, and John!
Last week, I attended the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) All Scientists' Meeting in Asilomar, California. Not only was it my first chance to drive up Route 1, it was an opportunity to meet fellow scientists working at various LTER sites across the country (more on the network can be found here). I presented a poster describing some of my recent work examining nutrient cycling in kelp forest sediments and participated in a number of collaborative workshops. I also mentored an NSF REU student from UMass Amherst, Julia Cox, who received a fellowship to attend the conference and present her work on temporal shifts in zooplankton communities along the New England shelf. All in all, it was a fantastic conference, and seeing humpback whales breaching from our porch at breakfast didn't hurt!
The past few months have been packed with field and laboratory work, and it would not have been possible without the help of my student assistants, Katherine Le and Elena Staguhn.
Elena is an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland who joined our lab this summer as a recipient of the SBC LTER National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates grant. She completed her own independent project examining the effects of debris deposited on Goleta Beach on nearshore marine sediment processes, and she presented her work at the Ocean Change Biology REU symposium at the close of the summer.
In other exciting news, Katherine received the UCSB Worster Award, which is currently funding her independent project investigating zooplankton excretion in kelp forest canopies. More on her work to come!
A few weeks ago, I attended the ASLO Summer Meeting in Victoria, British Columbia with the Melack/MacIntyre lab family (that's us in the first photo!!). It was a whirlwind of talks, posters, and plenaries, and I presented my research examining lignin phenols as biomarkers of terrestrial organic matter in Santa Barbara Channel marine sediments. I had the opportunity to meet researchers from all around the globe as well as several current lab collaborators and fellow early career scientists. Now, I'm back in Santa Barbara and hard at work prepping for August field work and experiments. More on that soon!
Two of my undergraduate students are beginning a new chapter in their lives this week -
Chloe Smith is graduating from the Oregon Institute of Technology and is the recipient of the President's Senior Cup, awarded to an outstanding scholar in the Humanities, Arts, and Sciences who has demonstrated superior academic excellence and involvement in university organizations. Lila Kubler-Dudgeon is graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and shortly afterwards, she flies to Thailand to embark on her year with the Princeton in Asia program.
Congratulations to these amazing young ladies! I could not be prouder of you both!
It has been a busy spring quarter filled with lots of teaching, new projects, and prepping for summer work! I was recently invited to present on struggles and strategies relating to using data science in the classroom at the UCSB Graduate Student Teaching Symposium. The conference was a great opportunity to meet fellow educators, and I enjoyed hearing others' ideas for encouraging student engagement and knowledge retention across disciplines.
One of my students, Lila, has begun work on her independent project examining beach hopper excretion in sandy beach sediments. The project is a close collaboration with Kyle Emery, another EEMB graduate student, and we cannot wait to have results in just a few short weeks!
Another of my students, Katherine, was recently awarded the Worster Award which provides summer funding for an undergraduate student to perform research under the mentorship of an EEMB graduate student. She will be continuing a project examining zooplankton in local kelp forest canopies and is already busy planning her field work. Congratulations Katherine!!
I will be attending the ASLO Summer Meeting in Victoria, British Columbia in early June and presenting part of my dissertation research in Session #11 - The Biogeochemistry of Organic Matter: Cutting Across Ecosystem Boundaries and Aquatic Gradients. More details on that and summer plans coming soon...
I am excited to announce that my application for emergency funding from the UCSB Associated Students Coastal Fund was recently approved. I will be using this grant to study the effects of the sediment deposited on Goleta Beach following the Montecito debris flow in January. Stay tuned for updates on the project, which will involve several collaborators and a fantastic team of undergraduates! If you'd like to learn more about the disposal of debris or current water quality at Goleta Beach, follow the links below.
I am a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science at the University of Nevada Reno.