Beginning as a few students independently volunteering with the Changing Oceans research group, Undergrads Changing Oceans (UCO) has grown into its own undergraduate research and outreach team. Our primary interests are to engage in marine research and education, and to engage others.
With a year of experience assisting in the lab, the previous UCO team developed the skills and confidence to lead their own project. Their project investigated whether concentrations of microplastics currently found in ocean surface waters affect the physiological health of the sea anemone Exaiptasia palida.
As the current team is up and running, we have now had the opportunity to begin our own experiment in the lab. Over the second semester, we designed our first experiment based on previous research on coral recovery methods and the phoenix effect. With fragments from two different species of coral with similar morphologies, we are testing the recovery rates of shallow versus deep wounds. Over the timespan of a month, we will be using light microscopy and digital imaging to visualize the differences in tissue recovery for the different coral species. We will also be analyzing wound area through time by using image analysis software such as Image J. The planning and execution of the experiment have allowed team members to gain valuable experience in experimental design planning, analyzing results, learning a lot about lab equipment and of course corals!
As we continue with our experiment, we are also looking forward to future projects we hope to be involved in:
- Sea grass restoration
- Deep sea and tropical coral ecosystems
- Understanding how corals will respond to climate change
- Familiarisation with current lab and research technology
- and much more…
IN THE LAB
We work with the Changing Oceans research group to maintain the coral tanks in the lab. Here we learn the best way to keep corals and other tank creatures happy and healthy and monitor their environment. Hands on experience is the best experience and this way our team is developing important coral husbandry skills.
OUTREACH AND EDUCATION
The team also engages in outreach, which includes preparing collaborative projects with schools, societies, and the Changing Oceans group which will take us to science festivals and out into the field (or the beach!) with the wider public.
We are currently starting the group up again after little access to the lab during COVID. We aim to continue working alongside the Changing Oceans group, engaging in research, and outreach to learn more about our changing ocean!
If you’d like to get in touch to ask questions, collaborate or get involved, email one of the team co-leader’s addresses below!
Carla Leone- email@example.com
Sophie Coxon – firstname.lastname@example.org
Mia McAllister – email@example.com
We have previously been featured in the International Coral Reef Society’s Feature Friday blog highlighting the work we have done on our research project, see here for the full article!