I work in Dr. Stephanie Kamel's lab conducting research on the population connectivity and larval dispersion of the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, across a network of marine reserves. Knowledge of larval dispersion and population connectivity is important to the success of resource management efforts, such as marine reserve networks. C. virginica oysters provide ecosystem services such as sediment stability, water quality improvement, and habitat for other valuable species in addition to providing millions of dollars to the economy annually. My research consists of genetic analysis including PCR (polymerase chain reaction), sequencing, and the use of several software programs to determine the relatedness among individuals.
I transferred to UNCW in the Fall of 2014 as junior, and I knew that I wanted to participate in undergraduate research. I hoped to gain laboratory experience and experience with the use of software programs pertaining to biology.
I have gained experience with lab techniques, field work, and data analysis. The most challenging aspect has been juggling research with classes, but I like to keep busy, so the challenge was no match for me. I have learned so much about genetics, data analysis programs, and conducting research in general thanks this wonderful opportunity.
I believe that undergraduate research will set me apart and make me a more competitive candidate for graduate school and my future career.