December 12, 2007

Megan Carpenter ’08 Studies at Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts

Biology major completes semester-long project at world-renowned center for environmental research

Biology major Megan Carpenter ’08 (Mechanicsburg, Pa) is spending the fall semester taking part in the rigorous Semester in Environmental Science (SES) program at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Mass.

The program, designed to immerse serious science students in an intensive semester of hands-on ecological science, is sponsored by the MBL’s Ecosystems Center, an international center for environmental research and home to scientists conducting leading edge research in freshwater, coastal, and terrestrial habitats all over the world. Virtually all of the Ecosystems Center’s principal investigators, and many of the support staff, participate in the SES program.

Each week the students spend more than 20 hours conducting hands-on lab work and field research in the forests, ponds, and estuaries of Cape Cod. In addition to taking courses in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems science, the students are participating in a science-writing seminar designed to illustrate how the results of scientific investigations can be transmitted to the public.

During the last five weeks of the semester, the students conduct independent research projects and work with mentors from the Ecosystems Center to collect and analyze data and produce final papers. Carpenter is investigating dissimilatory nitrate reduction and N-cycling in NITREX microcosms. She will report her research findings to the Woods Hole scientific community at a public symposium Dec. 14.

The SES program is open to students enrolled at one of the 60 colleges participating in the MBL Consortium in Environmental Science. Students from non-affiliated institutions may register and receive credit through Brown University.

The Marine Biological Laboratory is an internationally known, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical, and environmental sciences. Its intensive graduate-level educational program is renowned throughout the life sciences. Founded in 1888, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Western Hemisphere.

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