Please welcome the 2013 PIFSC Young Scientist Opportunity (PYSO) summer interns. This year we have 4 outstanding interns joining us at PIFSC for an exciting summer of scientific research, culminating in a Summer Intern Symposium. More information on our PYSO interns can be found here but following are some brief summaries of who we have visiting us this year:
Karl Lindberg is a rising junior at Eckerd College, where he is studying marine science with a focus in marine biology. Karl is working with Jacob Asher of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) to process videos recorded through baited and unbaited remote underwater stereo-video surveys (BRUVs and RUVs, respectively). This technology is relatively new for surveying reef fish assemblages. Karl is analyzing videos recorded in the Main Hawaiian islands to determine the differences in fish encounters between BRUVs and RUVs. One of the benefits of using BRUVs and RUVs is that they can survey depths that would otherwise be unreachable by divers, so he will also analyze the species assemblage differences between shallow water reefs and the less understood mesophotic reef systems.
Kori McClanahan is currently a senior at Hawaiʻi Pacific University where she is part of the Marine Biology program. Her internship at PIFSC involves working with John Rooney of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division and the Pacific Islands Benthic Habitat Mapping Center. The project she is working on focuses on the presence of light-dependent corals in regions with depths exceeding 30 meters, referred to as mesophotic coral ecosystems. Kori has been compiling still photos, along with the corresponding pertinent data, from previous research trips around the islands of American Samoa and creating an interactive database for coral species. This project will increase the understanding of these relatively understudied coral reef ecosystems and will potentially aid in the proposed listing of 66 coral species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
Patrick Rex is entering his fourth year at the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa where he is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Marine Biology. Patrick participated in the recent thirty day cetacean research cruise through the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands during the Papahānaumokuākea Associated Cetacean Ecology Survey (PACES). His internship with staff members Yvonne Barkley and Ali Bayless focuses on the vocalization characteristics of different stocks of false killer whales within the Hawaiian Archipelago, including the Northwestern Hawaiian Island stock, the main Hawaiian insular stock and the pelagic stock. This project explores the differences in whistle characteristics between each stock to eventually be able to classify them during real-time applications. This is the first attempt at determining differences in whistles between the different stocks, and will hopefully contribute to the greater conservation efforts of the Cetacean Research Program, part of the PIFSC Protected Species Division.
Taylor Witkin is a rising senior at Colby College in Waterville, ME, majoring in Environmental Science with a concentration in Marine Biology. His internship with the PIFSC focuses on the socio-economics of non-commercial fisheries. Taylor is currently working with Cindy Grace-McCaskey, Leila Sievanen, and the Waialua Boat Club on a project to get non-commercial fishers to report their catch, something not mandated by fishing regulations. This will ultimately give fisheries managers a more accurate picture of how much fish fishermen are harvesting from the ocean. Taylor is also working with Dawn Kotowicz and Courtney Beavers to assess the engagement and reliance of different Hawaiian communities on fisheries and their vulnerability to changes.
These 4 PYSO interns will be joined by 12 other undergraduate interns (NOAA Hollings and others) from around the country in a JIMAR/PIFSC Summer Intern Symposium on Wednesday July 24, 2013 from 8:30AM-3:00PM at POST 723 on the campus of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Please stay tuned for further announcements and details for this event, and plan to join us in seeing what these bright undergraduates have been up to this summer!