This Summer I had the opportunity to intern at the NOAA Howard Marine Laboratory in Sandy Hook, NJ with my advisor Dr. Chris Chambers for 10-weeks. During this time I assisted in important climate change research on Atlantic silverside (Menidia menidia) fish. I conducted my own experiment evaluating the effects of parentage on early-life responses of Atlantic silverside under varying thermal regimes. With a partner, we designed a paternal half-sibship breeding design in order to evaluate genetic and non-genetic (e.g., environmental and maternal) effects on the responses of young larvae under cooler and warmer temperatures.
The best part of my internship was designing and implementing an experiment to its completion. It was exhausting but also some of the most fulfilling work I have ever done. Figuring out the design alone consisted of going back to the drawing board numerous times and required many late nights of research. Once the design was set I got to be a carpenter, a fisherwoman, an egg and larvae caretaker, and a scientist.
I learned so much about the life of a research scientist while on The Hook. Seining for fish in the Bay, spawning adults, and keepings eggs and larvae alive are no easy tasks and require a commitment to many long hours (as they say, fish do not wait for humans to hatch). However, at the end of the day it was well worth it getting good data which indicated that parents do seem to influence how larvae respond to changing ocean temperatures. Doing work that will provide important insight into how animals respond to changing oceans has cemented my passion for becoming a marine biologist and continuing this important research.