|Centre senior participates in oceanography research project
RELEASED: Aug. 25, 2005
DANVILLE, KYTo many Centre College students, summer means a reprieve from the rigors of college life and some well-deserved and much-needed rest. Yet, while many of her colleagues were soaking up the sun, Lynetta Mier, a senior chemistry major from Fredericktown, Mo., spent the summer participating in a research project sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on the Norfolk, Va., campus of Old Dominion University.
Mier was one of eight students from across the country selected to participate in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program offering a concentration in oceanographic sciences.
Over the course of 10 weeks, each student was required to plan and implement an independent research project. Miers project focused upon developing a new method for water analysis that can be used to study dissolved organic matter and to gain a better understanding of food webs, including those found in the Chesapeake Bay and the many rivers and estuaries near Norfolk. The results of her studies will help to determine preservation and restoration techniques for both the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.
Throughout the course of the program Mier attended weekly seminars, in which students discussed such topics as ecology, current continental shelf patterns, and trophic interactions (i.e. feeding relationships) among Pacific Salmon. While Mier spent much of her time in the lab, she and her companions were offered several opportunities to conduct fieldwork. These experiences included taking cruises aboard research vessels, traveling to the local aquarium and partaking of an Independence Day feast of blue crab.
Mier credits the liberal arts curriculum at Centre as having equipped her with the intellectual tools and self-confidence needed not only to gain admission to the program but succeed in it as well. Before this program my knowledge about oceans was very limited, says Mier. I understood only what Id been able to observe from visits to the ocean. 1) Oceans were salty. 2) Oceans had waves and tides. 3) Big fish (whales and dolphins) live in it. Other than that, I was clueless. But now I can say that I understand many of the workings of the ocean and the importance of oceans in our world.
In addition to her experiences at Old Dominion this summer, Mier has been invited to present the findings of her research at national conference sponsored by the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, which will be held in February in Hawaii.
The NSF funds research projects at various colleges and universities across the country. These competitive programs provide undergraduate science majors the opportunity to conduct independent research in fields they may not otherwise encounter within a standard college curriculum.
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