I am a fourth year undergraduate researcher in the Earth System Science Department. The focus of my research is on how diatoms, a class of phytoplankton that make silica-based shells, react to changes in nutrients in the ocean. In order to conduct my research I collect seawater from the Newport Pier, spike this water with various amount of extra nutrients, and then let the phytoplankton grow for 48 hours. At the end of the experiment I examine the phytoplankton in the water under a microscope to determine the number of diatoms and other phytoplankton within the sample.
The point of my research is to determine how the diatom populations offshore of the Newport coast will react to the changes in the amounts of nutrients that are provided by the flow and circulation of the ocean. I am particularly interested in the effects of upwelling, the process by which nutrient rich deep water is introduced to the surface ocean in the summer.