Undergraduate Researchers Observe the Ocean in Intensive Summer Research Program

Jul 13, 2017

Ten undergraduates spend the summer with Oceanography Dept. researching in the laboratory and on the ocean.

Participants aboard R/V Pelican during Observing the Ocean research cruise.
Photo Credit: Dr. Darren Henrichs.

COLLEGE STATION, TX. Undergraduate students from around the country have converged at Texas A&M University's Department of Oceanography and Geochemical and Environmental Research Group for the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program “Observing the Ocean.” They join the first-rate faculty, staff and graduate students to dive into an intense summer of research.

This year, ten students are immersed in summer research throughout the department:

Lauren Castanon from California State University, Monterey Bay is working on the Assessment of Sources of Chromophoric Dissolved Organic Materials to Galveston Bay via Emission-Excitation Florescence with her mentor:  Professor Gerardo Gold-Bouchot.

Amanda Ceroli from University of North Carolina at Wilmington joins her mentors Professor Ping Chang and Dr. Jaison Kurian on the Assessment of Coupled Model Skill in Simulating Coastal Winds in the Gulf of Mexico.

Cassidy Gonzalez-Morabito from Rutgers University is working with her mentor Dr. Kristen Thyng on the Analysis of Hydrodynamic Impact Induced by Tidal Turbine Arrays

Cameron Henderson from University of South Carolina is studying the Carbonate Chemistry of Galveston Bay with Dr. Katie Shamberger.

Charles Holmes from James Madison University works with Dr. Jason Sylvan on Understanding the Growth of Microbial Exopolymers in Response to Oil and Dispersants.

Ashley King from University of Connecticut is working on Determining Anthropogenic Contribution to Methyl Halides in Galveston Bay with her mentor Professor Shari Yvon-Lewis.

Madeline Neuhaus from Boston University is studying the Evolution of the Kuroshio Current: An Examination of Planktonic Foraminiferal Biogeography during the Miocene with Dr. Yige Zhang.

Diana Sandoval from Bryn Mawr College is conducting a Study of Interannual Changes in Hypoxia at the Flower Garden Banks and the Texas Coast with Dr. Henry Potter.

Alyssa Van Doorn from Rowan University is studying Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Contamination in the Benthic Marine Environment Surrounding McMurdo and Palmer Stations, Antarctica with her mentor Dr. Andrew Klein.

Andrew Whitesell from North Carolina State University is examining Exopolymer Formation by Phytoplankton in Relation to Marine Aerosols with his mentor Dr. Daniel Thornton.

The summer research experience includes not only quality time in the laboratory with their research mentors, but these undergraduates got their feet wet in active field work during a research cruise in the Gulf of Mexico aboard the R/V Pelican. Over three days on the water, the students experienced a multidisciplinary oceanography adventure, visiting Sabine Bank and the Flower Garden Banks coral reefs and seeing the autonomous glider Stommel be deployed. This cruise was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Communication is an integral part of the scientific endeavor, so each student gives multiple presentations to the rest of the cohort during the summer. Working and conversing with the faculty and current graduate students provides inquisitive undergraduates unique insight into graduate school and the life of a research scientist.

More information on the REU program can be found on the Texas A&M Oceanography website, the OtO Facebook page, the OtO blog, or by contacting Dr. Lisa Campbell, Director of REU Observing the Ocean.

Applications for Summer 2018’s REU program will be available December 1, 2017.

By: Vance Nygard