Tell us about your work/research. What kinds of things do you do?
As a research assistant in the Govindarajan lab at WHOI, I collect and help process eDNA (environmental DNA) samples from the ocean twilight zone. By collecting free-floating DNA, shedded cells, and microscopic plankton on a filter, extracting and sequencing the DNA from these filters, we can see what organisms are present. This can not only give us a better idea of biodiversity but also what marine animals are traveling through the twilight zone and when.
What sparked your initial interest in your career?
Growing up, my family and I would always travel to the beautiful Maine coastline in the summer where I would spend hours gazing into tide pools in the intertidal zone. Although these were the origins of my love for marine biology, my passion was truly cemented in college when I was able to take a class in Oceanography, Marine biology and genetics.
Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?
My brother and I always encouraged each other in our respective stem fields and we often share our excitement over new discoveries with each other
What element of your work/study do you think is the most fascinating?
I am fascinated by diel vertical migration, the largest migration of animals on planet earth, and I am excited to use eDNA to study this phenomenon, learning about the dynamics of it and what species are involved
What other jobs led you to your current career?
I was originally a guest student at WHOI completing a senior year independent study on genetic barcoding of twilight zone fish. I also participated in the SEA Semester, a study abroad program that took place on a sailing vessel in the sargasso sea.
What are your degrees and certifications?
Bachelor of Arts in Biology -- Wellesley College 2020
What are your hobbies?
When I am not extracting DNA in a lab, I love reading, drawing and playing the fiddle
What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?
Reach out to scientists who are in the area of study you are interested in! Chances are they are just as excited to talk to you about their work.
How did you get involved with the Ocean Exploration Trust?
I work with the mesobot team, prepping our sampler for deployment