Students work on research projects

Not too many undergraduates can say they have been fortunate enough to do research. Even fewer can say they’ve been a part of research going into their junior year. And only one can say he’s been a part of a research project between Moss Landing Marine Labs and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

My name is Alex Neu, and I’m that student.
– Blog post on June 18, 2012

For some college students, summer is a time to put the books away for a few months and kick back.

Mitchell Takata working at Bird Rock, Catalina IslandThat’s not the case for dozens of CSU Monterey Bay students involved with the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center or UROC. Those students – including Alex Neu – are spending their summers conducting experiments, gathering data and summarizing their findings in research papers.

They are spread out across the United States. Many are working in labs on other university campuses and at research centers; one is interning with a certified public accountant; and some are working on projects based at CSUMB.

And while most are majoring in a field of science, at least a dozen are pursuing degrees – and research topics – in psychology, business, global studies, human communication, music and math.

Alex is spending the summer researching the effects of climate change on rocky reef communities in La Jolla as part of a Sea Grant-funded project. Among his daily activities, he monitors pH levels in various samples.

Alex Neu taking a pH readingHe’s looking at how ocean acidification affects two species of algae, one native and one invasive.

“We’re excited to see what kind of results we’ll find. Will one species fare better than the other? What implications could this have for an invasive species’ ability to outcompete a native in a changing ocean environment?,” he asks in his blog post.

Another UROCer, Mitchell Takata, is also spending part of his summer down south.

Takata is working with Dr. Corey Garza at the University of Southern California’s Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies on Catalina Island. They are investigating the value of incorporating intertidal habitat into the design of Marine Protected Areas for spiny lobster and sheephead.

Mitchell “has handled 4 a.m. low tide habitat surveys and 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. high tide snorkel surveys for lobsters,” Dr. Garza said. “There were even a couple of SCUBA surveys thrown in there as well.

“And he’s been a big help to the two graduate students in my lab,” Dr. Garza said.

Learn more about UROC here.

A sampling of the work students are doing this summer:

Emily Aiken (Marine Science)
Emily is analyzing photo and video imagery collected by a remotely operated vehicle to characterize and monitor the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Sara Banco (Psychology)
Sara returned to the Development, Disorder and Delinquency lab at UC Irvine where she is researching juvenile offenders and antisocial behavior.

Mark Callaghan (Biology)
At the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Lab, he is working on how the brain controls behavior and how specific brain cells affect navigation in a marine sea slug.

Philip Cooksey (Computer Science and Information Technology)
At the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Philip is working on robotic systems.

Omar Davila Jr. (Psychology)
At Yale University’s Summer Research Fellowship Program, Omar is researching interpersonal processes in an educational context.

Michael Diaz (Biology)
Michael is dividing his time between CSUMB and UC Santa Cruz. At CSUMB, he’s focusing on bacteria from local freshwater environments; at UCSC, he’s investigating stomach bacteria pathogenesis.

Abel Duarte (Biology)
At Purdue University, Abel is studying the role of proteins in plant cell development.

Susan Dyar (Global Studies)
Susan is assisting CSUMB Professor Kathryn Poethig with research on invisible worlds and conflict zones.

Theresa Eckert (Human Communication)
At the University of North Carolina, Theresa is analyzing discourses regarding food and labor controversies.

Timothy Fuller (Marine Science)
At the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs, Tim is evaluating the biodiversity of horseshoe worms.

Shiyla Goodie (Psychology)
Working with CSUMB Professor Jennifer Dyer-Seymour, Shiyla is investigating how television content affects the dynamics and value of marriage in the African American community.

Christina Hill (Environmental Science, Technology and Policy)
Under the guidance of a scientist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Christina is studying nutrient cycling in the Chesapeake Bay.

Elizabeth Lopez (Marine Science)
At Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, Liz is analyzing fish habitat associations to identify locations for offshore renewable wave energy development.

April Makukhov (Biology)
At San Diego State, April is studying the influence of water temperature on green sea turtle movement and habitat selection.

Jesse Mangiagli (Psychology)
Jesse is doing statistical work for several projects at the University of Southern California’s Sea Grant lab.

Allison Moreno (Marine Science)
Working with CSUMB Professor Arlene Haffa, Alli is working to isolate and characterize two proteases from an ocean microbe.

Benjamin Oppong-Bio (Business)
Benji is interning with a certified public accountant.

Marianne Ortiz-Lytle (Environmental Science, Technology and Policy)
At UC Santa Cruz, Marianne is working to optimize an organic farming method for the Central Coast climate.

Brynn Perales (Marine Science)
At Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, Brynn is using advanced genetics techniques to investigate the difference in fitness between hatchery and wild Coho salmon.

Melissa Powell (Psychology)
At Stanford University, Melissa is examining child development of self-efficacy and self-control.

Monica Ramirez (Psychology)
At Indiana University, Monica is conducting research on sexual health communication and promotion.

Emily Roncase (Biology)
At the University of Illinois at Chicago, Emily is studying the effect of antibiotics on bacteria protein synthesis and resistance at the molecular level.

Jameel Smith (Business)
Working with CSUMB Professor Murray Millson, Jameel is looking at how hedonic and utilitarian values relate to consumers’ intention to purchase products online.

Lauren Sommers (Environmental Science, Technology and Policy)
Lauren is conducting research with Tricia Wotan, an associate planner for the city of Monterey, as part of the Watershed Management Internship Program.

Matthew Tran (Biology)
At the University of Missouri, Matthew is conducting cancer research, applying biochemical and molecular biology techniques to study RNA to better understand the growth rate of cells.

Cristina Villalobos (Environmental Science, Technology and Policy)
At the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Lab, Cristina is studying how environmental stresses impact dispersal of adult fish populations.

Jordan White (Mathematics)
At Fresno State, Jordan is conducting research on the embedding of graphs, which is used to model networks such as airplane routes.

Top photo courtesy of Dr. Corey Garza
Mitchell Takata working at Bird Rock, Catalina Island

Bottom photo from Alex Neu's blog
Alex taking a pH reading as part of his work with Moss Landing Marine Labs and Scripps Institution of Oceanography