Seniors in the Marine Ecology Research Program presented their research in an end-of-year symposium on May 14.
The students conceived of and began working on their independent research projects as juniors. The pandemic presented interesting challenges for the students, as all of their projects "were designed in a simpler time," said their teacher, Dr. Christian Reilly.
"The projects were all built around expectations of access to equipment and to places and to people that were suddenly restricted, and in most cases, it was restricted right when it felt like things were really getting going," Dr. Reilly said. He acknowledged the students' resilience and the way they were able to take the techniques, tools, and ideas they learned on campus and apply them "in offices and bedrooms all around the globe."
The symposium is an important part of the three-year Marine Ecology Research Program, giving students the experience of communicating technical information in a professional setting. Thirteen students presented seven studies involving pH controllers, kelp forests, sea urchins, algae, rockfish, catfish, and sea stars. They previously entered their projects in the Monterey County Science & Engineering Fair.
Dr. Reilly summed up the role of the symposium: "The job of science doesn't end with making a discovery. Researchers need to be able to communicate their findings back to the community that supports them."
The symposium was held for a limited audience in the Mary Johnson Recital Hall and streamed live over Zoom.