REU 2019 Begins

Dr. Krejci will be mentoring REU students at Bethune Cookman during the summer working on projects related to water quality and zooplankton modeling. Today was the first introduction to the students. Other faculty mentors include Dr. Isokpehi, Dr. Calderon and grant PIs Dr. Kim and Dr. Siva.

Aquatics Laboratory Transformation

Today was finally the day to begin stand construction for the lab’s move into the Animal Care Room. Dr. Krejci received funding to construct three aquaculture stands. One will be used to house the marine ornamental broodstock and the other two will house larval culture systems for seahorses and clownfish. Thanks to Dr. Juan Calderon for helping carry in all the boards in the rain! It’s Florida 🙂

NSF Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) grant writing workshop in Baltimore

The dream team, Dr. Krejci and Ms. McCall, had the pleasure of participating in the 2019 grant writing workshop hosted by NSF. They’re developing a Noyce Track 4 with B-CU professor and mentor Dr. Raphael Isokpehi. They received critical feedback from grant consultants and program officers on how to perfect the submission. They were able to network with other minority serving institution faculty to establish new partnerships. It was a jam packed two days filled with excellent lectures and break out sessions. One well written project summary is complete and now on to write 15 more!

Last day of CWCC

The last part of the week was the students coming together representing their different user groups and deciding if the second causeway over the Laguna Madre was worth the ecological damage it would cause. Students decided that a community panel was needed to make sure the local residents really wanted the new road and the inevitable traffic and development it would bring with it. It was a great week and a great collection of hardworking scholars! It was a honor to work with all these brilliant students and their faculty mentors. Hats off to the faculty, staff and students and UTRGV for hosting a successful and productive week of activities!

First dwarfs born!

The first batch of Hippocampus zosterae were born today with 38 newborns!! I hope our adults keep producing like this for Alyssa to get her data collected for her senior thesis. This batch will be used for a pilot of our feeding selectivity study. The next batch with be for data collection!

Benthic infauna sampling at CWCC

Dr. Krejci, assisted by FAMU post doc Dr. Emily Jones and masters student Catherine Eckart, lead all the NOAA CCME scholars through a field demonstration of collecting benthic infauna using cores in the Laguna Madre, TX. The samples were stored on ice and analyzed in the Univeristy of Texas Rio Grande Valley Port Isabel WetLab. Students will be given an excel file as homework to calculate the Shannon Weiner Diversity Index, species evenness, and species richness. The data collected will help them decide on the environmental impacts of a proposed second causeway construction across the Laguna.

2019- NOAA CCME Center-wide Core Competency Course

B-CU students Miranda White and Abraham DaSilvio with Dr. Krejci and Dr. Cho are attending the CWCC which is a biannual workshop for the NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystem program. The CCME grant provides funding for undergraduate and graduate students at B-CU and partner institutions around the country including FAMU, California State at Monterey Bay, Jackson State University, The Univeristy of Texas at Rio Grande Valley, and Texas A&M Corpus Christi. All the partner schools, students and faculty are participating in a week long workshop examining the potential impacts of a new causeway being built over the Laguna Madre. The students are assigned user group perspectives to explore and will be gathering data to make a decision on their recommendation of the causeway construction.

Birth imminent!

Our labs first Dwarf seahorse, Hippocampus zosterae, is any day now! Check out this large and amazing belly. The broodstock were donated from Alyssa’s Seahorse Savvy and their offspring will be part of a feeding selectivity study with undergraduate Alyssa Stubbs.

Schools out, but we’re still here!

Update: we have been selected!! Baltimore here we come!

Classes are over, students are on their way home or preparing for graduation tomorrow, final grades are submitted…but straight back to work we go! Dr. Isokpehi brought together me and Ms. Junell McCall to apply for a NSF proposal writing workshop for the Noyce teacher scholarship program. My brain is mush and I can’t believe there are coherent thoughts coming together, but the submission got in and now we wait to see if we’re selected! 

Chlorophyll a analysis with Dr. Hunsucker

Senior Jonathan Johnson is preparing for his senior thesis presentation on the impacts of the 2018 superbloom on zooplankton. He’s been presenting research obtained during the summer CURE program, but we resampled the superbloom in November 2018 and he has yet to share those findings. One last measurement was our chlorophyll a analysis. Dr. Kelli Hunsucker from Florida Tech generously offered her tissue grinders, acetone and spectrophotometer for us to use. Five hours of tissue grinding and analysis and the data is finally complete to run our PCA and distance linear model! (And I’m sure Jonathan never wants to see another chlorophyll sample again) A special thanks to the Florida Tech work studies who took some of the work load off us today! I’m incredibly grateful for my friends at Florida Tech who are willing to lend a hand and a lab to make science happen 💙

Jonathan organizing the final samples
Jonathan loading the samples into the spec
Saying good bye to the tissue grinder FOREVER!
A pretty obvious chlorophyll signature from control and superbloom sites
Scientists after a long, successful collaboration filled day!