SEA Currents: Woods Hole Partnership Education Program
Transition to Marine Biological Laboratory
The course section of the Partnership Education Program (PEP) is over and I have transitioned full-time into the lab at Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) Ecosystem Lab for my research on Sea turtles with Maureen Conte (MBL) and Heather Hass (NOAA). The course section was hard-work but I was able to push through it. I started working on my research on July 5, 2017 and so far I am having the most fun and learning new things that I never thought of.
My research is to use stable isotopes of δ13C and δ15N to distinguish between three different types of sea turtles based on their diet and where they belong on the marine food web using their pictorial muscles. I started my lab by measuring out the pictorial muscles of already dead loggerhead turtles and Green turtles that were already taken from the different type of sea turtles that had stranded and were collected by Mass Audubon society. After weighing the samples, they were freeze dried for three days, ground, and weighed again after grinding. Part of the sample is then prepared for the lipid extraction. Water contents of species are Green turtles=80.63%, loggerhead=79.47%, and Kemps Ridley=81.17% but the results will overlap if the values of the standard deviation are taken into account.
The lab work so far has been great and my mentor Dr. Conte has really been a great support. Dr. Conte makes sure that I have a better understanding of my research and also ask me for my input on the procedures we are using for this experiment. Not all mentors have the time to sit with their mentee on a day-to-day schedule to make sure that they feel comfortable and ask for their input on things. The team in my lab are very fun to work with and also very supportive. The lab team has taken me as one of their own and makes sure that I leave the lab with a smile on my face at the end of each day. My lab manager J.C Weber who directs me on my day to day activity in the lab has been a good manager and very patient working with a premature researcher like myself. Mr. Weber patiently instructs me on everything that I do and makes sure that I am clear on all the instruction in the lab. I am enjoying my research and I cannot wait to see the isotope results from these turtles, what they have been feeding on and where they migrated from. I wish to come back after the internship to work with them on my research.