I am an undergraduate senior pursuing a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science. I
am conducting research for the University of California, Irvine Earth System Science department on photosynthetic marine microorganisms, like phytoplankton and cyanobacteria. My area of research involves chromatic acclimation by various species of Synechococcus cyanobacteria. Chromatic acclimation is the ability for these organisms to replace different light receptor proteins embedded in the outer surface of their cell walls. This allows certain Synechococcus species to respond to different light environments.
The specific focus of my research seeks to investigate chromatic acclimation under
different light intensities. This is done by growing Synechococcus strains in a controlled
environment under different colors of light, while limiting or intensifying exposure. By observing the response of these cyanobacteria to different intensities of light, changes in light receptor structures can be represented at different depths of the ocean. This can ultimately help with being able to map where different phytoplankton species can survive and thrive throughout the ocean, as well as exhibit the relationship with their environment more clearly. My research is funded by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program at UC Irvine.