Let’s meet the interns!

Here is a quick introduction to all the summer interns.  More details on everyone’s projects will be posted soon!

First up is Bartolome Garau who is currently doing a PhD on path planning and safe navigation for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) in oceanic environments characterised by complex spatial variability (that’s a mouthfull for sure, stay posted for more details, and explanations, about Bartolome’s work).  He is studying at the University of the Baleric Islands, but for the summer he will be working with Jim Bellingham and Sergey Frolov for his intern project ‘Optimal Survey Planning for mobile observing platforms’.

Next we have Hana Hashim who is doing a BS in Biochemistry at San Jose State University.  So far, Hana’s local knowledge and access to a car have been very useful for the other interns!  For her project this summer Hana is developing the MBARI Deep Sea guide with her mentor Brian Schlining.  This will be an on-line encyclopedia describing the geology and biology of the Monterey Canyon – available to all!

Another international student now, Sandeep Kumar from India.  Sandeep is studying for an MS at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and is especially interested in artificial intelligence (AI).  This is involved in his intern project ‘Temporal Plan Visualization’.  He will be working with the MBARI Autonomous Systems Group using advanced AI techniques to enable autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to be more adaptive and contextually aware of their resource and goal commitments.  His project mentors are Thom Maughan and Kanna Rajan.

Katie Lodes is a grade 9-12 teacher at St. Joseph’s Academy in St. Louis, MO, and is here with her whole family!  She is also the intern’s vanpool driver, picking us all up in the morning, dealing with our snores on the journey to work, and taking us home again at the end of the day.  When she’s not waiting for us outside the supermarket, Katie is working with Danelle Cline, Duane Edgington and George Matsumoto on publishing information from the Eye-in-the-Sea; a camera system that records life in the Monterey Canyon.  Her intern project will focus on making the videos and data available in a form that can be readily accessible by educators via the internet.

Melissa Luna has just graduated from the College of Charleston, South Carolina, with a BS in Chemistry and a minor in Geology.  She is working with Peter Brewer and Ed Peltzer exploring new ways to examine the chemistry of the ocean.  Melissa is one of the lucky interns that will have a chance to go out on the MBARI vessel R.V. Western Flyer in July, putting the work she has done into practice in the waters off southern California.

This is the second year Roman Marin has interned at MBARI.  Every year, one previous student is asked to return as an alumni intern.  Roman has been helping us out with getting to know the area and making bigger plans for our weekends off (watch this space for what we get up to over the 4th July!).  He is currently a student at Cabrillo College in Aptos California, pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis on maritime applications.  During his internship he will be assisting Andrew Hamilton with the development of a self-powered, station keeping buoy.

Spencer Matteson is another recent graduate, completing a BS in Electrical Engineering at the University of California Santa Cruz.  Spencer has so far been particularly useful driving us up to Santa Cruz to catch some weekend sun!  His project mentor is Chad Kecy and together they will be working on the Free Ocean CO2 Project (FOCE).  This addresses the future impact of lower pH (elevated CO2) on marine ecosystems by reducing the pH of sea water in a test area within the FOCE system to measure the reaction of sea life.  He will be designing an environmental sensor board that detects the temperature, pressure, humidity and the presence of H2O within the main electronics enclosure.

Chris Matthews is in his final year at the University of California Santa Cruz, studying for an Economics and Environmental Science combined major.  He will be working with Nancy Barr this summer to create web pages for viewing images and data produced by our science and engineering projects.  This will involve developing and updating web pages on autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) as well as the Controlled, Agile and Novel Observing Network (CANON).  The overall objective of his project is to accurately and succinctly state scientific information.

After graduating from Smith College with a BA in Biology and a minor in Marine Science, Katie Morris is now pursuing a MS in Marine Science at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories studying bottom boundary layer dynamics in the Monterey Canyon.  Katie is going to be developing advanced sampling methodologies for some of MBARI’s autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) with Jim Bellingham, Yanwu Zhang, and Sergey Frolov.

Like Katie, Matthew Russell is also a teacher but he’s come all the way from Australia.  So far this year he has been a substitute at elementary schools in Riverland but, after the summer, he will be getting his own grade 4/5 class at Renmark Primary School, South Australia.  At MBARI he will be working with Jim Barry for his intern project ‘Life in a high CO2 ocean’.  This will involve developing a database using Google Earth to display the locations of current and previous ocean acidification work.  This website will also provide a web-based entry system allowing researchers to manually enter information that is of concern.  The ultimate goal of the project is to provide a brief overview of ocean acidification research.   This will be of value to those that would like to liaise with other professional organizations and to those that would like to find out more about ocean acidification.

Aaron Schnittger is currently studying for an IT degeree at Cabrillo College, California.  As his intern project he will be working with Larry Bird to develop an effective shackle for ROV manipulator operations.  These are key components of cabled seafloor observatories that allow interconnection with scientific instruments.

Although originally from southern California, Sara Thomas is currently living in Hawai’i.  Last year, she graduated  from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa with a BS in Global Environmental Science and a  Minor in Meteorology.  She is now working in the Center for Microbial Oceanography (C-MORE) Education Office.  For her 10 week internship she is going to be working with Julie Robidart on the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP).  This project will qualify molecular assays to determine microbes that perform important functions in marine biogeochemistry.

Daniel Toma is originally from Romania but completed his Electronic Engineer MSc at the Technical University of Catalonia, Spain.  He is now in the second year of his PhD studying ‘Interoperability in Underwater High Voltage Cables Monitoring Systems’.  His summer internship will focus on investigating techniques to integrate instruments into sensor networks.  Daniel will also be involved in the implementation of PUCK and ZeroConfig protocols  for  plug and play of Ethernet instruments.  His project is mentored by Tom O’Reilly and Kent Headley.

John Virrey is currently studying at Bakersfield College, California.  This summer, John will be working with Rich Henthorn to develop a Sedimentation Event Sensor to record both visible light and fluorescence macro-images of collected sediment, thus measuring the quantity and quality of particulate matter (food supply) reaching the seafloor.  The system will be deployed on the Monterey Accelerated Research System (MARS) cabled observatory.

Down to our last three interns!  Isobel Yeo is a PhD student at the University of Durham, UK.  She is incorporating this internship into her PhD studies which are focused on ‘Axial Volcanism on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge’.  At MBARI she is working with David Clague as part of the submarine volcanism group, processing and interpreting data from the North Gorda ridge.

Hang Yu has recently graduated with a BS from the University of British Columbia in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.  His project for the summer is ‘Characterization of newly isolated marine algae’ which will be mentored by Alexandra Worden and Sebastian Sudek.  This will involve using epifluorescence microscopy and molecular techniques to identify and characterize two isolates that were made from a cruise off the California coast last October. Hang’s project will provide a better understanding of their ecological contributions to the biochemical cycles in their natural habitat based on their physiological differences.

I’m Rebecca Hunter and I’ve just finished a joint BA (Hons) and MSc in Marine and Freshwater Biology at the University of Glasgow, UK.  In October I’m moving to the south of England to start a PhD at University of Exeter in ocean acidification.  Until then I’m spending the summer analysing images taken from the Monterey Canyon by the MBARI Benthic Rover with Ken Smith, Linda Kuhnz and Alana Sherman.  Although we have a pretty good idea by now of what animals live down there, tracking the changes in number and noticing any new species can tell us a lot about how the ecosystem is functioning.  I’m especially interested in seeing if any of the changes match up with climate patterns in shallower water.  Basically all this means a lot of time in the video lab for me this summer!  If you want to get in touch with me or any of the other interns, or have any questions, feel free to email me at rhunter@mbari.org.

Well, that’s us!  As you can see there’s a great mix of backgrounds and project topics here this summer.  Hopefully by the end of August we will have completed these projects.  By following this blog you can track our ups and downs, and our evening and weekend trips around California!

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