The structured laboratory experiences and techniques of the core courses and electives set the stage for what many students consider to be the most rewarding part of the SES program, the independent research projects. During the last five weeks of the course, students are able to devote full time to a project of their choosing. The project gives students a chance to work independently, although they are supported by a main advisor, a Principal Investigator (PI) at the MBL Ecosystems Center or MBL Josephine Bay Paul Center. Many students collaborate with their peers on their projects and may have the opportunity to work with a PI at other Woods Hole research institutions such as Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) or Woodwell Climate Research Center. Students have access to Ecosystems Center facilities and equipment as well as access to MBL field sites such as the Harvard Forest LTER or Plum Island Ecosystems LTER.

Depending on their interests and background, students may have the opportunity to work jointly with local conservation organizations and government agencies on environmental studies that effect our local land, water and coastal ecosystems on Cape Cod. Some projects, like Wheaton College student Kristy Sullivan’s 2016 project on toxic algae in Falmouth waters make the local headlines.

In December, SES students present their research projects in a formal videotaped symposium before their classmates, mentors and guests, and the Ecosystems Center’s and MBL’s scientific staff.

This event is open to the general public as well as local project collaborators and represents the culmination of the students last five weeks of independent field and laboratory research, observations and data analysis. For many it is the first time they have ever given a formal public presentation and a great introduction into communicating and defending scientific study and discoveries in front of a local friendly scientific community.

View all SES class photos here.

2019 SES Student

College

Project

Olivia Blasdel
University of Evansville
Variation in Natural Abundance 15N Isotopes in Groundwater and Sentinel Macroinvertebrates as Indicators of Wastewater Pollution in Estuaries
Kathryn Hulleman
Earlham College
Carbon Loss and Nitrogen Availability After Cessation of a Long Term Till and Corn Silage Management Experiment
Lauren Johnson
Trinity University
Effects of Excess Nutrients on the Carbon Metabolism of the Macroalga Ulva
Kyra Madunich
Pomona College
Examining the Synergistic Effect of Temperature and pH on the Competitive Dynamics of Native and Invasive Tunicates
Grant McKnight
Northwestern University
Effects of Iron, Nickel and Nutrient Supply on Pyrite Crystal Formation in Marsh Sediments
Khashiff Miranda
University of Chicago
Impact of Anthropogenic Nitrogen Loading on Diazotrophic Communities in the New England Salt Marshes
Cody Pham
Pomona College
Habitat Selection in Birds Across Fragmented Landscapes
Miriam Ritchie
Wheaton College
Do Microplastic Concentrations in Salt Marshes Increase with Human Population Density?
Olivia Shao
University of Chicago
How Does the Chemistry of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) Affect Bioaccumulation in the Estuarine Blue Mussel Mytilus Edulis?
Marguerite Tate
Harvey Mudd College
The Effects of Beaver Dams on Nutrient Cycling in Cart Creek, A Tributary of the Plum Island Estuary

 

2018 SES Student

College

Project

Maggie Anderson
Lawrence University
Effects of Chronic Nitrogen Addition on Soils Along an Urban-to-Rural Gradient
Casey Beidelman
Northwestern University
Plastic Beach (The Spread): Microplastic Distribution and Composition Across the Tidal Range of Cape Cod Beaches
Ariela Buxbaum Grice
Connecticut College
A Genomics-Based Study of Gracilaria Species Around Falmouth, Cape Cod
Emma Conrad-Rooney
Wellseley College
Mycorrhizal Colonization Across an Urban to Rural Gradient: Interactions with Nitrogen and Calcium Cycles
Boya “Twiggy” Cui
Dickinson College
Algal Carbon Stable Isotopes as Indicators of Coastal Eutrophication
Emory Ellis
Hamsphire College
Predicting the Impacts of Senescence on Carbon Storage and Water Movement in New England Forests
Gracie Gavazzi
Kenyon College
High Nitrogen Content in Spartina Alterniflora as a Feeding Cue for Invertebrates in New England Salt Marshes
Emily Hays
Northwestern University
Effects of Oil Exposure on Nitrogen Cycling in Salt Marsh Sediments
Michael Howard
Clarkson University
Effects of Differing Agricultural Practices on Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Stocks
Ali McGarigal
Colorado College
A Marsh Against Tide
Claire McGuire
Rhodes College
Plastic Marsh (The Tenacity): A Look Back at the Varying Anthropogenic Impacts on Estuary Systems Through Microplastic Pollution and Stable Isotopes
Talia Michaud
Mount Holyoke College
Impacts of Urbanization and Nitrogen Addition on Ectomycorrhizal Fungal Communities
Briana Moore
University of Chicago
Eutrophication in Little Pond: Algal Growth Response to Nutrients and Immediate Effects on Sewer Systems on Enrichment
Rudy Mueller-Schrader
Lawrence University
Understanding Sea Turtle Foraging Through the Stable Isotopes of Their Prey Items
Rachel Murray
University of Lynchburg
Metal Contaminants in Local Harbors
Abigail Rec
Gettysburg College
Nutritional and Physiological Status in Cold-Stunned Juvenile Sea Turtles
Hector Ricardo Salazar
Connecticut College
Plastic Beach (The Arrival): Spatial Heterogeneity of Microplastic
Eva Schneiderman
Mount Holyoke College
Pollution on Cape Cod Beaches and the Impacts of Different Hydrographic Sources
Lauren Skinnion
Trinity College
Differential Responses of Invasive and Native Species of Gracilaria During Exposure and Recovery from Salinity Stress
Wenzhuo Yang
Allegheny College
Are Microbial Community Inherently Safe?

 

2017 SES Student

College

Project

Lois Anderson
University of Chicago
The role of physical protection of carbon in soil aggregates in sites of land use change
Jonah Benning-Shorb
University of Chicago
Nutrient budget in a eutrophic Cape Cod estuary
Paul Max Black
Franklin and Marshall College
Effects of Schizachyrium scoparium coverage on soil and food web structure in coastal plain grasslands
Luis Cartagena
Northwestern University
Effects of long-term soil warming on aggregate mass and physical protection of organic matter
Marta De Giuli
University of Chicago
Controls on seed bank biodiversity in the Frances Crane Wildlife Management Area
Emily DeFelippis
Eugene Lang College of The New School
Lipids and stable isotope profiles in cold stunned juvenile sea turtles of Cape Cod
Lucero Flores
Northwestern University
Effects of temperature and nutrient variation on bleached and unbleached Astrangia poculata
Lydia Fox
Dickinson College
Salinity tolerances and nitrogen requirements of native and invasive Gracilaria species in New England
Lauren Hamm
Rhodes College
Biogeography of Gracilaria species in Waquoit Bay
Ben Hoekstra
Grinnell College
Spatial distribution of soil properties in a chronosequence of abandoned New England cranberry bogs
Augusta Hollers
Amherst College
Visual stimuli that control adaptive camouflage in cuttlefish
Charlotte Hovland
University of Chicago
Sex, drugs, and rotifers: Endocrine disrupting water contaminants and rotifer reproductive cycling
Emi Lemberg
University of Chicago
Microbial fuel cells for improved bioremediation
Caitlyn Linehan
Trinity College
Measuring NSC, carbon, nitrogen and relative greenness of Quercus coccinea and Ilex opaca during senescence
Chloe Omelchuck
Hampshire College
Plant and insect communities in a chronosequence of abandoned cranberry bogs
Sarah Pope
Wheaton College (IL)
FISHing for sulfate reducing microbes in Siders Pond, a meromictic lake
Peter Puleo
Northwestern University
Using sediment geochemical indicators to understand nutrient loading and salinity changes in Siders Pond
Alondra Soto
Pomona College
Decomposition and DOC availability during leach phase of decomposition in early and late successional leaves
Emma Sullivan
Dickinson College
Measuring nitrogen attenuation in septic-contaminated coastal groundwater