Friday, July 17, 2015

Bermuda Program Interns Part 1

 We would like to introduce some of our summer 2015 Bermuda Program Interns!

The Bermuda Program is the pinnacle of the BIOS Ocean Academy program.  Ocean Academy begins by introducing primary school students to ocean science through school visits and Waterstart, and continues to engage students throughout their educational career with diving, research, and mentoring opportunities.  

The Bermuda Program offers a unique opportunity for Bermudian students, ages 18 and older, to broaden their knowledge of marine and atmospheric sciences and learn about the daily operations of an active research station.  Since 1976 more than 130 young Bermudians have taken part in this exciting program, with many applying their summer experiences toward further university studies.  Beyond that, some Bermuda Program graduates have successfully translated their summer internships into employment opportunities at BIOS and other related organizations in Bermuda.

Meet Ashby!

Ashby is a second year Chemistry major at Saint Mary’s University in Canada.  This summer, Ashby is participating in the Bermuda Program  and working with Dr. Mark Guishard of BIOS’s Risk Prediction Initiative (RPI2.0).  RPI2.0 funds academic scientific research relevant to the insurance and (re)insurance industry, and assists in translating this research into usable and actionable results for the member companies. RPI2.0 helps scientists refocus their interests on needs and time-scales relevant to the (re)insurance industry in addition to stimulating and supporting high-level research on natural hazards such as hurricanes, typhoons and tornados.  Ashby’s particular interests lie in clouds and meteorology, and she is excited about the weather focus of her internship.  

1. How would you describe the project you are working on at BIOS?
I am looking at the correlation between weather patterns and asthma attacks.  I’m kind of myth busting because I’m trying to see if the age-old tale of winds coming from the east triggering an attack has any legitimacy.

2. Why did you decide on this internship?
I decided on this internship because I was looking for the experience and exposure to real science.  Getting to see research in action is something I’ve always wanted to be a part of.

3. What did you hope to gain or learn from your internship, and did you achieve this? 
I had no idea what to expect when I started.  The project has developed into something really interesting. I like that I’ve been able to step into the role of a scientist and research a topic that others have not looked at before.  It’s really exciting.  In school, there is a lot of memorization and repetition, and here it is refreshing to be able to make your own discoveries.  

4. Has anything in particular impressed you while you have been at BIOS?
The staff and intern atmosphere has really impressed me.  Everyone here is so friendly.  On the first day I was scared to sit down at lunch, but everyone was very welcoming.  There is so much more going on here than I think most people know about.  I didn’t know that they brought so many people from the US.  All year round they have people coming to BIOS. 

5. Has your time thus far at BIOS changed your thoughts on what you might want to do in the future?
I feel like my time here has solidified the path that I was already on because I’m getting to do what I hope to do when I finish school.  I’m so glad to be here.

6. What are your plans for the future?
I would like to be a meteorologist, whether it would be in research or working at the Bermuda Weather Service.  I would be happy in either role.  I’ve been interested in meteorology for as long as I can remember, and have always been fascinated with clouds.  I have over 10,000 pictures of clouds from when I was a child. I’ve always known this is where I want to be. 

7. What did you like best about the Bermuda Program?  Would you recommend this program to other students?
A lot of the information is connecting everything together for me--- I can do a real forecast now.  I also like that I am getting to finally know the field that I want to be in, because that doesn’t happen until later in university.  I would definitely recommend the Bermuda Program to other students because even if you don’t know what you are looking for, it can expose you to a broad spectrum of science and help you go in whichever direction you need.  That exposure makes it a great experience for anyone. 

8. If you could sum up your internship in 3 words, what would they be and why?
Laughter, hard work, and joy.
Laughter because the people here at BIOS are so enjoyable, and it’s wonderful to be able to talk to people with similar interests as me.  Not a lot of my friends are interested in science.   
Hard work—you have to be dedicated and it has to be something you want to do. 
And joy because I just really love science, and clouds make me happy.  It just makes me so happy to be able to be here and study clouds. 

9. What’s your favorite type of cloud?
Altocumulus.  Because they look like marshmallows or little fluffy steps 

Meet Daniel!  

Daniel is a Marine Biology major at the University of Dalhousie in Canada. 

1.  How did you hear about the Bermuda Program, and for how many years have you been participating in any BIOS related programs? 
I heard about the Bermuda Program through Kaitlin Baird as I have been working at BIOS with Tim Noyes for the past 2 years. Before this I had participated in BIOS programs starting in Waterstart, followed by the Marine Science Internship, and finally going back to help the Waterstart program before I moved on to the Bermuda Program.

2.  How would you describe the project you have worked on at BIOS to a non-scientist?
We take baited cameras and lower them down to a point in the ocean that is just beyond the point easily accessibly to scuba divers. We then use this film to determine relative abundance, biomass, and behavior of reef fish.

3.  Why did you decide on this internship?
I think that this internship is great opportunity for me as it allows me to get a sense of what a potential career in the field of marine biology could look like.

4.  What did you hope to gain or learn from your internship, and did you achieve this?
I really wanted to be able to further develop an understanding of a career in marine biology. I think that by having such a great first hand experience doing research, I’ll be able to understand what constitutes becoming a marine biology researcher.

5.  Has anything in particular impressed you while you have been at BIOS?
The staff at BIOS is incredibly professional and knowledgeable. The community feel between the labs allows for a great environment for not only learning, but also friendship.

6.  Has your time thus far at BIOS changed your thoughts on what you might want to do in the future?
If anything, my time here at BIOS has reassured me that Marine Biology is the field for me.

7. What did you like best about the Bermuda Program? Would you recommend this program to other students?
I love that I am getting to learn so much while hanging out with a great group of people. It really doesn’t feel like work. I would highly recommend the Bermuda Program for any students looking for work experience in general. It provides a hardworking environment and gives you experience at one of the top marine science institutions in the world.

8.  If you could sum up your internship in 3 words, what would they be?
Mesophotic, Tim, Rope


Meet Sara!

 Sara will be a second year Biology major at Columbia University this fall.  For the past two years, she has been working with Tim Noyes, a coral reef research specialist here at BIOS. 

1.  How would you describe the project you have worked on at BIOS to a non-scientist?
I’m working on two projects for Tim.  Tim is heading a study of the mesophotic zone, an area 30-150m underwater, which had previously not been well studied here in Bermuda.  It’s deeper than divers can dive without extra training/ equipment, and it is too shallow for deep water researchers to be interested. No one really knows what is down there, so our plan is to figure that out. We send down baited cameras that video for an hour at a site, and the idea is that we are getting a compressive data sample of that location in high definition footage that we can analyze for various things- general fish counts, behavior, biomass.  It’s cool because we’re seeing a lot of rare species, and even an undocumented species to Bermuda’s water. 

My project this year involves using a Geographic Information System (GIS) to analyze fish and benthic data that Tim had previously collected, to determine where a new marine protected area could be created in Bermuda. GIS is a tool that allows me to manage, analyze and visualize data on a spatial interface, i.e., on a map. I’m looking at things like fish and benthic diversity, distance to land, and abundance of rare or protected species to try and find areas that should be protected. We have received fish surveys from the REEF foundation, and we have data from the mesophotic project that we will hopefully also be able to incorporate into this project. 

2.  Why did you decide on this internship?  
I’m studying Biology (pre-med track) and this was an awesome way for me to get a jumpstart on research before I started school. I applied after a year of travelling (I took a gap year after high school), so it was an added bonus that I got to be home with my family too.

3.  What did you hope to gain or learn from your internship, and did you achieve this?
As a Biology major, research is a pretty big part of my studies, so I was hoping that BIOS would allow me some insight into what research would be like, which it has definitely done. I’ve had an awesome experience here, and it’s been amazing to be able to do real work and not just sit on the sidelines and watch from afar.

Last summer, Tim tried to teach me the basis of GIS, as it is such a powerful tool for analyzing and presenting data. I didn’t really grasp it fully, which pushed me to take a course in GIS in the spring. It’s really useful software with so many different tools and applications, and it’s been cool to be able to transform raw data into maps and analyze our data in new dimensions.

4.  Has anything in particular impressed you while you have been at BIOS?
It’s been incredible to be able to be so involved with the work going on here at BIOS. The summers are so dominated by the interns floating around campus, which creates a really fun work environment. Plus, it is fun to be able to keep up with different projects going on around campus through the eyes of all the interns, and not just through lectures and papers. 

5.  What did you like best about the Bermuda Program?
I don’t think I could say just one thing; there is so much going on here that I’m not really sure where to start. Tim is the best, so working for him has been a highlight. Plus, having so many other interns in the lab this summer has made it a really eventful/ fun ten weeks.  I’m also so thankful to be able to be home for the summer while also doing something I love.

6.  If you could sum up your internship in 3 words what would they be?
Mesophotic zone matters!  The mesophotic zone is often ignored, but it’s a huge part of Bermuda’s reef system and could act as a refuge to the depleting shallow water reefs. People always belt and shout about how important Bermuda’s reefs are and how we must protect them, but they are ignoring a huge part of it.

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