Sign of the times: the lipid signature of a collapsing phytoplankton bloom

Summer 2018

William Kumler : Marine Science / Molecular Environmental Biology

Mentor: Bethanie Edwards

Did you know that phytoplankton produce half the world's breathable oxygen? These enigmatic organisms are a vital part of the marine ecosystem and closely connected to our terrestrial world, but there's a lot we don't know about them. This summer, I'll be looking specifically at phytoplankton blooms - dynamic events in which they reproduce rapidly and overwhelm thousands of square kilometers of ocean - and studying the signals phytoplankton produce when stressed. This project will help us understand how carbon is sequestered in the ocean and the implications for the global carbon cycle.

The Rose Hills Foundation has been an incredible boon to my experience as a budding scientist at Cal. They generously funded my SURF experience last summer and made that opportunity a reality, but I was personally touched to see their support for marine science at the Wrigley Marine Science center, where I was trained as a scientific diver. I'm inspired and honored by their commitment to undergraduate education and their continued support for student research. Their support has allowed me to confidently pursue my graduate school aspirations, now that I have the experience necessary to design, develop, and discuss an independent project of my own.