by Walker Calhoun
After countless hours of work towards the goal of becoming a marine scientist, I have integrated myself into my first marine lab community: Bodega Marine Lab. To provide some context, I am a rising junior at Eckerd College (St. Petersburg, FL) majoring in Marine Science with a focus on Biology. I grew up in San Francisco, close to Ocean Beach, where my attraction with marine life began. I remember, as a kid, going to the beach two or three times a week just to sit on the dunes and watch the waves crash over the sand bars. After visits I found myself looking up animals I had seen and exploring documentaries on marine life.
It was at this point that I began my quest to spend as much time around marine life and salty water as possible. Fast forward a few years and I found myself in St. Petersburg, Florida where I am currently pursuing my passion of the marine sciences at Eckerd College. Surprisingly, Eckerd not only pulled me out of my comfort zone and into Floridian waters, but it also paved a golden road back to California at the Bodega Marine Lab. Coincidentally, two Eckerd College alumni work in conjunction at the lab: Associate Professor Tessa Hill, and her graduate student Brady O’Donnell. Thanks to the efforts put forth by the above two alumni, I am proud to say that I am the third Eckerd affiliate to work at the Bodega Marine Lab.
Under mentorship by Tessa and Brady, I have had the privilege of gaining general lab experience, such as microscopy and handling of harmful chemicals, to specified jobs, such as extracting sediment cores from Bodega Harbor, pictured above, and acid washing sediments. Though I have used my time here at the lab to explore the many avenues that marine science has to offer, I have predominantly assisted Brady O’Donnell with his research on carbon sequestration in sea grass beds within Bodega and Tomales Bays. Essentially, we are researching how increases of carbon dioxide can be tamed through photosynthetic processes amongst seagrass beds. The final goal is to determine if seagrass beds can dampen the effects of ocean acidification and quantify how much of the converted carbon is buried in the sediments long-term. More details about my experience to come, in my next blog post!