Students present research at symposium

By Marc Anthony Martinez

The UCLA/ELAC Pathway into Inclusive Ocean Research funded by Califonia Sea Grant had a Sea Grant symposium on Friday in the Multipurpose Room, where students talked about their research findings and experiences with the program.

Professor Jimmy Lee talked about the SeaGrant program and how things went for those students that were involved with the program. He showed a video of the program from the summer and introduced the students that were presenting. 

“I’m so proud of everyone, all the work was amazing. They worked so hard and learned so much, and I love the fact that everyone enjoyed their experiences. They picked up a lot of skills and knowledge that they wouldn’t have been able to do in the classroom setting,” Lee said.

 There were five presentations by different students about the experience they had while in the California Sea Grant Program. The group of Nguyen Tran, Hannah Taylor and Esmeralda Zambrano Bernardi had a slideshow presentation about The Tripati Lab’s analysis of thermoregulation in mosasauridae using clumped isotope geochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles. Their group participated in weighing the Calcium Carbonate standards, which was important in comparing the specimen results. It would run in a mass spectrometer with samples from mosasaur fossils to detect CO2 gas pressure and convert to body temperature.

Kenyel Lumbi did her presentation on the Santa Monica Pier and breakwater reconstruction on commercial sustainable fishing. She talked about how commercial fishing boats are killing the ocean by dumping their plastic trash, fishing gear and nets in the ocean. She also talked about the different fish you could catch at the pier and gave information about the pier’s origin and sportfishing.

Lana Leos presented on the Surfrider Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization that focuses on ocean protection and advocating for ocean safety. While working with the Surfrider Foundation, they used the Surfline: Wave and Surf Reports App to check environmental data,  jarred collected water samples and took them to the lab for testing. She said she enjoyed that experience and how informative it was.

Gabriel Nassimento didn’t do a research project because he didn’t have time, but was still able to do things with the program. like the California Coastal Clean-Up he attended.  

The last presenters,Anco Viega and Kenneth Chau, said their research project on how sea surface temperature, turbidity and chlorophyll have changed over the last 20 years in three marine protected areas.  They also explained how they connect to each other and how climate change created by humans has been affecting their usual pattern. 

Lee said he was blown away by the students’ work and how everything turned out at the end. He was excited that the room was full of people who supported each other for the symposium. Lee felt like the students got the most out of this program by being able to go out and get on a boat and do the research outside of a lecture and be hands-on with the mentors.

The Sea Grant program runs out at the end of this year but Lee  said he hopes to continue going and feels like the excitement is still there.  He said he knows that UCLA was excited and knows they still want to work together and will look to see if they can get alternative funding.

They will be rebranding to Pathways into Environments Research the PIER mentoring program and keeping the aquatic theme.

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